Medical Board of Australia - Medical practitioners on the 2020 sub-register can extend their registration to keep supporting the pandemic response

Medical practitioners on the 2020 sub-register can extend their registration to keep supporting the pandemic response

22 Feb 2022

Medical practitioners on the 2020 pandemic response sub-register can now opt in to extend their temporary registration before it expires to keep supporting the pandemic response.

Key points
  • 23,000 practitioners are registered on the 2020 pandemic response sub-register (the 2020 sub-register) until 5 April 2022.
  • Medical practitioners, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners on the 2020 sub-register can now opt in to extend their registration to 21 September 2022 or apply to transition to the main register for ongoing registration.
  • Practitioners who do not contact the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) before their registration expires will no longer hold registration from 6 April 2022 that enables them to practise.

Ahpra and National Boards are acutely aware that our health system still needs help as it continues to deal with increased healthcare demands and workforce challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Practitioners on the 2020 sub-register are being contacted by Ahpra before their temporary registration expires on 5 April 2022 about the options available to stay registered which would take effect from 6 April 2022.

There is no obligation for practitioners on the 2020 sub-register to practise. However, those who are already supporting the pandemic response, or who have decided they would like to, now have the option of extending their registration or transitioning to the main register.

What practitioners must do by 5 April 2022

Practitioners on the 2020 sub-register are currently registered to work in any area that supports the COVID-19 response and must advise Ahpra before midnight on 5 April 2022 if they want to:

  • opt in so their temporary registration is extended to expire at midnight on 21 September 2022, or
  • formally apply for registration on the main register using a transition pathway.

Alternatively, practitioners can do nothing and allow their registration to expire.

Practitioners that don’t contact Ahpra by midnight on 5 April 2022 will no longer hold registration from 6 April 2022 that enables them to practise and they will need to apply through the standard registration process required by the relevant National Board.

Practitioners should look for an email from Ahpra telling them what to do to stay registered. The email details how to opt in to extend their temporary registration or how to apply to transition to the main register and what requirements must be met.

Anyone who does not want to join the surge workforce or is unable to do so can do nothing and let their temporary registration expire on 5 April 2022. Their name will be removed from the sub-register on 6 April 2022 and they will no longer be able to practise.

If a practitioner had non-practising registration before being on the sub-register and doesn’t contact Ahpra, they will automatically return to non-practising registration on 6 April 2022.

Practitioners’ registration status from 6 April 2022

Practitioners who opt in to extend their temporary registration until midnight on 21 September 2022 will be registered to practise to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations) from 6 April 2022. They will need to make specific declarations in order to practise.

Opting in will align the registration of practitioners on the 2020 sub-register to the registration expiry date of practitioners on the 2021 sub-register.

Practitioners who choose to transition from the temporary 2020 sub-register to the main register can keep practising from 6 April 2022 but only if they have made an application using the transition pathway before 5 April.

Their registration will continue to be limited to practice for the COVID-19 response until they are advised about the outcome of their application. Once a practitioner has transitioned to the main register and their registration details have been updated, they can practise to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations).

Background to the 2020 and 2021 sub-registers

  • In April 2020, Ahpra and National Boards established a temporary pandemic response sub-register for up to 12 months to help fast track the return to the workforce of experienced and qualified health practitioners.
  • In early April 2021, following a request of Health Ministers, National Boards agreed that medical practitioners, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners be extended to stay on the sub-register for up to 12 months (to 5 April 2022). This extension was granted to help with the COVID-19 vaccination program only.
  • On 8 September 2021, the registration of practitioners on the 2020 sub-register was broadened so they can practise in any area that supports the COVID-19 response. This includes clinical and non-clinical roles directly related to the COVID-19 response. The change to practitioners’ registration followed a request from states and territories to provide an additional surge health workforce in response to significant changes in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On 22 September 2021, the 2021 sub-register was established adding nearly 29,000 health practitioners to the pool of temporarily registered practitioners available to help in the fight against COVID-19 if they choose to do so.
  • Practitioners can opt out of the 2020 or 2021 sub-registers at any time and don’t need to tell us why.

More information

For more information about our COVID-19 response, go to:

Contact us

Media enquiries (03) 8708 9200.

 
 
Page reviewed 22/02/2022