The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce grew by more than 50% over the past year, making it the fastest growing profession of all the regulated health professions, according to data released today in the 2015/16 annual report published by AHPRA.
The 2015/16 annual report by AHPRA and the national health practitioner boards is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the 12 months ending 30 June 2016.
In 2014/15, there were just 391 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner registrants, with 587 registrants reported as at 30 June 2016.
While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners constitute a relatively small proportion of the almost 660,000 registrants currently in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, the increase solidifies the profession as the fastest growing among Australia’s health-practice boards.
‘The rise can largely be attributed to grandparenting provisions expiring on 30 June 2015, and the approval of more accredited programs of study,’ said Ms Lisa Penrith, presiding member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia. ‘When the provisions ended, the Board assessed a large influx of applications for registration and the Accreditation Committee has been very busy in their work accrediting programs of study.’
AHPRA is committed to developing and regulating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner workforce and continues to advise people who missed the grandparenting deadline about how they can qualify for registration in the future. As at 30 June 2016, there were five approved programs that qualify graduates for general registration under the National Law.
‘We want to make sure that anyone who wants to work in the field has access to approved programs of study,’ said Ms Penrith. ‘Developing and regulating an Indigenous health workforce is as an important step towards closing the gap on Indigenous health issues, such as child-mortality rates and the disparity between the life expectancy of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.’
More highlights of the past year include:
The 2015/16 annual report provides a nationwide snapshot of the work of AHPRA and the Boards and highlights a multi profession approach to risk-based regulation with a clear focus on ensuring that Australians have a safe and competent health workforce.
‘The regulation of over 660,000 registered health practitioners across 14 health professions and eight states and territories is an important task,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘There are many things to consider in regulation – but there is only one main focus, and that is patient safety.'
To view the 2015/16 annual report, along with supplementary tables that break down data across categories such as registrations, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, see the 2015/16 annual report website.
In the coming months, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in every state and territory, which will be released in late 2016. Profession-specific summaries will also be released and progressively published from early 2017.
Download a PDF of this Media release - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice is the fastest growing registered health profession in Australia - 10 November 2016 (204 KB,PDF)