The Australian Health Professions Regulations Authority (AHPRA) has once again come to media attention following a torrent of complaints about the backlog of applications and the potential for interruption to health service delivery.
This recent article in The Australian revealed at the end of 2010 up to 500 practitioners were deregistered as a result of unintentional lapse. Subsequently, the State health ministers pledged more support to AHPRA to ensure they meet the needs of the health professions, and the community.
At the same time, the Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon intervened to “fix” the ailing registration system, with the opposition labelling the situation a “debacle”.
Since the introduction of the national registration body in July 2010, there have been consistent complaints about the efficiency of the agency, and claims that the added bureaucracy imposed by the body has caused significant delays in the registration of health practitioners across Australia.
AHPRA has responded by increasing staffing and operating hours to cope with the demand.
From the locum agency/medical recruitment perspective, our opinion is that the situation as it stands is untenable. Our experience with many front line AHPRA staff is that they are well-meaning, but are unable to assist adequately due to an apparent lack of knowledge, training, or both. We are consistently unable to contact senior assessing staff.
The problems experienced with AHPRA are just a small part of the wider problem experienced by local and overseas trained doctors. The lack of integration and cooperation between the AMC, Colleges, and AHPRA is astounding. The system, in entirety requires a good overhaul before these problems disappear.