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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    QUEENSLAND LEADS THE WAY ON NATIONAL REGISTRATION FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    QUEENSLAND LEADS THE WAY ON NATIONAL REGISTRATION FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

    Health Minister Stephen Robertson today introduced new legislation for health practitioners that is expected to provide improved safeguards for the public and promote a more flexible, sustainable health workforce.

    The Health Practitioner Regulation (Administrative Arrangements) National Law Bill 2008 will provide a national law, hosted by Queensland, that will pave the way for a national registration and accreditation scheme for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

    Queensland has driven the scheme’s development and was chosen to host the legislation that will create and support the scheme.

    All other states and territories will adopt Queensland’s law.

    Mr Robertson said registration and accreditation of health practitioners was currently the responsibility of each individual State and Territory Government.

    “Requirements for registration vary across jurisdictions, and the professions required to be registered to practise also differ,” Mr Robertson said.

    “For example, all jurisdictions register medical practitioners, but only Queensland registers speech pathologists.

    “As a result, there are more than 80 health practitioner registration boards in operation across Australia.

    Following significant consultation and consideration, COAG agreed to establish a single national scheme, with a single national agency, encompassing both the registration and accreditation functions for the nine professions currently registered in all Australian jurisdictions.

    A tenth, podiatry, has subsequently been added as it is a profession currently registered in all but one Australian jurisdiction.

    Mr Robertson said there were significant benefits to introducing a national scheme of legislation for registration and accreditation of health practitioners, including improved safeguards for the public.

    “Since 2005, Queensland has undergone an exhaustive process of significantly strengthening our registration procedures, and we can now boast the most rigorous registration standards in the country.

    “However, the existing disparity between the states has resulted in a complex and confusing web of standards that are difficult for health practitioners to navigate, impede workforce recruitment, and undermine safety standards.

    Nationally consistent, rigorous registration and accreditation arrangements will help to improve the availability and flexibility of the provision of health services and also to protect the public from potentially harmful health outcomes.

    “Data on health practitioners, including criminal histories, practice restrictions or clinical history, will be able to be shared more effectively between States and Territories.

    “The national scheme is to be fully implemented by 1 July 2010 and is to initially apply to ten health professions: medicine, nursing and midwifery, pharmacy, physiotherapy, dental (: dentists, dental prosthetists, dental therapists, dental hygienists), psychology, optometry, osteopathy, chiropractic and podiatry.

    MEDIA:Kate Van Poelgeest 0458 449 267