Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia - May 2024
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May 2024

Chair’s message

Image of Iris RayeHello all, my name is Iris Raye, and I am privileged to be the new Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board. Read more about me in the story below.

Thank you to Renee Owen who is retiring as our Chair and Board member after 12 years of service. Renee was an inaugural appointee to the Board, and her knowledge, experience and leadership will be missed. We will also miss the extensive experience and wisdom of Bruce Brown, one of our community members, who is retiring from the Board after nine years.

On behalf of the Board, many thanks to our retiring members for their unwavering commitment and incredible achievements over the years with the Board and all the best in the next steps of your journey.

I am excited to welcome Steven Satour and Jessica Mitchell to their first term as members of the Board.

We’ve got a lot of things going on in the next year so keep your eye on the Board’s website and communications to keep up with our projects and progress.

Iris Raye
Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia

Board news

Meet your new Board Chair, Iris Raye

We asked Iris to tell us a little about her background and experience.

‘I am an Aboriginal Health Practitioner based at NT Health and I’m passionate about improving health outcomes for our families and communities.

‘I have worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for 41 years, mostly in rural and remote Aboriginal communities. I first gained registration as an Aboriginal Health Worker with the NT Aboriginal Health Worker Board in 1994.

‘I was appointed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia in 2022 and am inspired by the value and dedication our practitioners bring to their families and communities.

‘I look forward to working with the Board and all our partners in the National Scheme, and to meeting many of you at conferences and gatherings around the country.’

Read more about Iris and her broad experience on the Board members page of our website.

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New guidance for nurses and midwives working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia have developed Guidance for nurses and midwives: What nurses and midwives need to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners to recognise the collaborative role nurses and midwives have with our profession.

This document provides information for nurses and midwives on working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and clarifies the varying roles and scopes of practice for all three professions. The guidance has been developed to support interprofessional collaboration to ensure culturally safe healthcare and the improvement of health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

This guidance can be a resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners who are working closely with nurses and midwives and looking for further information to share with their colleagues. It is important for the Nursing and Midwifery Board that all nurses and midwives provide care that is free from racism and is professionally respectful and the guidance helps to identify how nurses and midwives can work with you for improved outcomes.

Read the Guidance for nurses and midwives: What nurses and midwives need to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners.

Are you interested in joining the Board’s Accreditation Committee?

The terms of appointment for several members of the Board's Accreditation Committee are due to end later this year. The Board has begun a recruitment process to fill the vacancies.

We are seeking applications from people with experience in education and/or accreditation who are interested in being part of the committee. Information about the roles is published on the Board's Vacancies page.

Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board has published its quarterly report on our profession’s workforce. As of 31 December 2023, there were 958 practitioners with general registration, and 19 with non-practising registration, a total of 977.

For further data broken down by age, gender and principal place of practice, visit the Board’s Statistics page to read the report.

Students and graduates

Beware of identity theft – don’t post your registration certificate online

Successfully registering with Ahpra is the last green light for new graduates starting their career in their chosen profession. It’s an exciting step and one to feel immensely proud of. The temptation might be strong to celebrate by sharing your first registration certificate with the world – but think twice before posting.

Identity theft is rife. Every day, websites pop up selling fake Ahpra certificates of registration based on real ones that graduating practitioners have posted on their social media. Never post your identity documents online. You’ve worked hard to earn your registration; don’t let somebody steal it.


Consultation on embedding good practice in clinical placements and simulation-based learning

Ahpra’s Accreditation Committee is seeking feedback on its draft guidance on embedding good practice in clinical placements, simulation-based learning and virtual care in initial education for student health practitioners. The guidance will support improvements in these important components of every health practitioner’s initial education.

The committee wants to ensure that our student health practitioners have access to high quality clinical placements, simulation-based learning and virtual care educational experiences. These activities enable students to develop the capabilities they need for contemporary practice, and to provide patient-centred care safely and competently.

The aim of the guidance is to help National Scheme entities, in particular National Boards and accreditation authorities, improve student education in these areas.

Find out more about this consultation and provide feedback on the committee’s Current consultations page. The public consultation runs till close of business (AEST) Friday, 21 June 2024.

What’s new?

Partnership with Weenthunga Health Network guiding critical reform work to eliminate racism in healthcare

Ahpra's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Unit is supporting the Cultural Safety Accreditation and Continuing Professional Development (ACPD) Working Group and Weenthunga Health Network, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultancy, to co-design and develop nationally consistent standards, codes and guidelines on cultural safety for registered practitioners across 16 professions.

Yawuru woman Tanya McGregor is chair of the ACPD Working Group and an Ahpra Board member.

‘There is a significant gap in cultural safety knowledge and application across regulated health practitioners, and that is putting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s lives at risk,’ Ms McGregor said.

‘By embedding cultural safety in accreditation and continuing professional development requirements for all 16 regulated health professions we will ensure consistency and accountability to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and health workers.

‘This substantial framework to eliminate interpersonal, systemic and institutional racism in healthcare is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who have lived and living experience of the impacts of the colonial state and racism.’

Read more in the media release.

Updated vaccination and immunisation information for practitioners

Ahpra has published updated FAQs for practitioners about vaccination and immunisation on its website.

This follows a recent consultation by Ahpra and the National Boards with key stakeholders about what information would be helpful for registered health practitioners about vaccination and immunisation, taking into account public health advice and the high rates of vaccination against COVID-19 in Australia.

The updated information draws from the National Boards’ regulatory tools, including:

Position statements that were developed using the same regulatory tools and released at the height of the pandemic are still available as a record of the clear guidance provided to practitioners during a worldwide pandemic.

Visit the Australian Government’s regulatory reform website to read the final report of the Kruk review.

Regulators come together as one million Australians turn to medicinal cannabis treatments

Maintaining a balance between access to medicinal cannabis and its safety is a priority for health regulators across Australia amid a growing number of prescriptions and the emergence of telehealth, online prescribing and direct-to-consumer health services. In February, Ahpra and several of the National Boards convened a forum in Melbourne that brought together health regulators to share information and regulatory intelligence, discuss any current risks to the public, and determine how all regulators can best work together.

The use of unregistered medicinal cannabis products has spiralled in recent years, from around 18,000 Australians in 2019 to more than one million in January 2024. The number of prescribers accessing the Authorised Prescriber and the Special Access Scheme has also risen sharply to more than 5,700 medical and nurse practitioners prescribing and dispensing medicinal cannabis products that have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for safety, quality, or efficacy.

While medicinal cannabis use has grown rapidly, the number of complaints to Ahpra about the health, performance and conduct of practitioners prescribing, dispensing, and compounding the products is relatively low to date. Since 1 July 2019, Ahpra and its co-regulator in Queensland have received 267 notifications about 199 practitioners relating to the prescribing or dispensing of medicinal cannabis. This accounts for around 0.5 per cent of all notifications received by Ahpra.

Most concerns raised by patients relate to access to medication, fees and costs, and being prescribed lower doses than they have requested. After investigation, a small number of notifications have required regulatory action, with cautions or conditions being imposed on practitioners in only 12 cases.

Read more in the communiqué on Ahpra’s website.

Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Statement of Intent

The Ahpra Accreditation Committee has published its Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Statement of Intent. The statement of intent aims to embed interprofessional collaborative practice across the continuum of healthcare settings.

The statement is a fundamental step towards achieving effective team-based and coordinated care across Australia. It is a commitment to improving the outcomes for patients and consumers by reducing the risk of fragmented and uncoordinated care.

Interprofessional collaborative practice is healthcare practice where multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together and with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care that is free of racism and other forms of discrimination.

The statement represents a joint commitment from 53 stakeholders across the health and education sectors to take action.

Read more in the news item.

Keep in touch with the Board

Call Ahpra on 1300 419 495 or 08 7071 5647 if you:

  • have any questions
  • need help filling in forms, or
  • are having trouble explaining to your employer about requirements. You can ask your employer to call this number.

The Board’s website has information on registration forms, registration standards, codes and guidelines, and news. If you have already lodged your application, you may call the registration officer responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner applications directly on 08 7071 5647.

Page reviewed 21/05/2024