A National Scheme for Health Practitioner Registration and Accreditation: the Case of Australia
The introduction of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme) in Australia in 2010 was designed to deliver a best practice structure for health practitioner regulation in order to support the provision of safe health care to the community. The Scheme codifies arrangements for the registration and accreditation of health practitioners.1 This new legislative framework provides a system intended to deliver consistency across the nation and across 10 of the largest health professional groups in Australia, a significant advance. Prior to the decision to introduce the Scheme there was a proliferation of regulatory regimes with each state and territory regulating health practitioners under different legislative instruments. This hampered many aspects of reform relating to the management and evolution of Australia’s health workforce. As new technologies emerged and distances were effectively diminished, as health practitioners moved around Australia and across the globe, it became evident that existing regulatory arrangements were not able to keep pace with twenty-first century expectations. There was also a growing unease about the work of regulators in assessing health practitioners trained overseas and in the approach taken to identifying and managing underperforming or poorly behaving practitioners, informed by media coverage in Australia and elsewhere.