Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia - November 2022
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November 2022

Issue 22 – November 2022

Chair's message

Welcome to the final newsletter for 2022. Where has the year gone?

It’s registration renewal time! Although it’s not always the best timing and not always easy, especially when jobs as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners can be hard to find, it’s vital that we renew our registration. We must keep showing our presence and our collective worth, providing culturally safe care to our communities.

It’s also important because, even if you are not employed as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner right now, if you are in the future, you’ll need to be registered with the Board. Reclaiming your registration is a lot more difficult and tedious than renewing. You’ll have to start from scratch with all the appropriately signed documents and proof of identity. So, make it a priority to renew your registration by 30 November.

Did you know that the National Association of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP) offers a free service to store your continuing professional development records? This means if you are audited, you can simply get a printout and provide it as proof, without having to search around for attendance forms. NAATSIHWP works to promote the profession and membership is free.

Remember, we are professional health practitioners, regulated the same way as nurses, doctors, podiatrists and others and provide welcome and vital services across a very broad scope of practice to our communities.

Happy Christmas and all the best from your National Board for 2023.

Renee Owen

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

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Priority news

Online renewal is open – renew on time to avoid losing your registration

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, you have until 30 November 2022 to renew your general or non-practising registration on time.

Ready to renew?

Head to the registration renewal web page to renew.

If you submit your application on time, or during the following one-month late period, you can continue practising while your application is assessed.

If you don’t renew by the end of the late period, 31 December 2022, your registration will lapse, you’ll be removed from the national register and you won’t be able to use the protected title ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner’.

Read more in the news item.

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Board news

Celebrating 10 years in the National Scheme

Ten years ago (as of 1 July 2022), a total of 280 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners were registered with the newly established National Board and registered to practise across Australia. By March 2022, the profession had grown to almost 900 registered practitioners.

Before the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) was established in 2012, there was only registration in the Northern Territory. No other state or territory provided regulation or registration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners.

National regulation means all practitioners are now on an online public register which enables consumers to check that their practitioner is registered, having met mandatory registration standards and other requirements.

Highlights from the decade include collaboration across the other 15 registered professions, establishing the accreditation function and implementing the first national professional capabilities for the profession.

Read more in the news item.

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Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners in the health workforce

The National Board calls on health services to employ and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners for better outcomes for our First Nations Peoples.

The National Day of Recognition on 7 August each year acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and nationally registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners.

The National Board regulates almost 900 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners. We are regulated in the same way as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the other 12 regulated health professions.

In August this year we celebrated the profession’s contribution to culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Read more in the news item.

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What does a caution mean for my registration?

None of us ever want to receive a complaint while we’re practising as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner but what can happen if one is made?

Following an investigation there are several possible outcomes. Most times, there is no further action. Sometimes, however, a practitioner may be ‘cautioned’. A caution is different from a condition, which is another possible outcome.

A formal caution may be issued by the Board or an adjudication body such as the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal. A caution is like a written warning and is intended to act as a deterrent so that the practitioner does not repeat the poor professional conduct or unacceptable behaviour that led to the complaint. A caution is not usually recorded on the national register, although if the Board thinks it appropriate it may be recorded.

Another possible outcome is a condition on registration, this is more serious and aims to restrict a practitioner’s practice in some way, to protect the public.

Read more about cautions and other possible outcomes.

Latest workforce data released

The Board’s quarterly report for 1 April-30 June 2022 has been released. At this date, there were 886 registered practitioners, with 20 of these on the pandemic response sub-register.

For more information, including data breakdowns by state and territory, age and gender, visit our Statistics page.

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Students and graduates

Finishing your study this year? Apply for registration now!

Graduates set to complete their course this year can take the first step in their new health career by applying for registration now.

Applying before you finish study means we can start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

Registration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia is required before you can call yourself an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner – and means you can work anywhere in Australia.

Watch our video to get your application right

Make sure to view the video on Applying for graduate registration. You’ll also find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website.

Read more in the news item.

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What's new?

Cosmetic surgery complaints line and resources hub launched

Ahpra and the National Boards are committed to making cosmetic surgery safer. Patients who have been harmed by cosmetic surgery can now report their concerns to a hotline. Practitioners who are aware of unsafe cosmetic surgery practices are also encouraged to call.

Key points

  • Our Cosmetic Surgery Hotline – 1300 361 041 is a new service for cosmetic surgery patients and concerned practitioners to tell us about their bad experiences. If we know about it, we can investigate it. The specialised notifications team is here to listen Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm AEDT. Concerns can also be lodged confidentially.
  • We have also set up an online Cosmetic surgery hub that gathers helpful resources for practitioners and the public in one place.

The hotline and hub are part of the response by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia to the Independent review into the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.

Read more in the news item

Listen up! Latest Taking care podcasts

Ahpra releases a new Taking care episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. Download and listen today. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.

Recent episodes include:

  • the inextricable link between climate change and healthcare
  • the unique world of rural and remote healthcare
  • safe healthcare for homeless people
  • what to do when cost is a barrier to safe healthcare.

Transcripts of podcasts are also available on the Podcasts page.

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National Scheme news

Click on the image below to read the National Scheme newsletter. Our next issue comes out in December, and you can subscribe on the newsletter web page.


National Scheme news banner graphic

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.

To contact the Board, please call Jill Humphreys on 03 8708 9066 or send an email to [email protected].

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Page reviewed 29/11/2022