National Cabinet has commissioned a review of Australia’s regulatory settings for health professionals, which is considering options to help ease health workforce shortages while maintaining high standards in health care quality and patient safety. The Review will report back to National Cabinet in early 2023.
About the Review
On 30 September 2022, National Cabinet announced an independently-led, rapid review of Australia’s regulatory settings relating to health practitioner registration and skills and qualification recognition for overseas trained health professionals and international students who have studied in Australia.
On 8 December 2022, the Government announced the appointment of Ms Robyn Kruk AO to lead the Review. The Regulatory Reform Division of the Department of Finance and the Department of Health and Aged Care are jointly supporting the Review.
The Review will deliver recommendations designed to ease skills shortages in key health professions, while ensuring quality and safety standards designed to protect patients are maintained. These shortages have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to continue as Australia’s population ages. The Review will consider whether regulatory settings for international health practitioners seeking registration in Australia:
- are fit-for-purpose
- are comparable with similar countries
- do not impose unnecessary barriers or compliance costs on migrants and employers.
The Review is expected to recommend reforms to streamline regulatory settings to make it simpler, quicker and cheaper for international health practitioners to work in Australia. These reforms will aim to drive productivity dividends for migrants, health sector employers and communities, while maintaining quality and safety standards.
The Review will complement the projects that National Cabinet has asked the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) to undertake on skills and qualifications recognition in key sectors. The Review also links with other related work, including the comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system.
The Review is strongly supported by state and territory governments, which are responsible for the legislative framework for health practitioner regulation. The Review will consult widely with relevant stakeholders to ensure the recommendations are practical and help deliver the health workforce Australia needs to provide high-quality and timely health services for the community.
Terms of Reference
The Review Terms of Reference outline the objectives and scope of the Review.
Ms Robyn Kruk AO brings a wealth of relevant senior government executive experience in the health and social care sectors to the Review, including state and Australian Government agency head roles. Ms Kruk has served as Secretary of NSW Health and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and was the inaugural CEO of the National Mental Health Commission.
Ms Kruk has led other independent reviews such as the 2019 Western Australian Government’s Sustainable Health Review and the 2021 Ministerial Taskforce into Public Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents in Western Australia. In 2021, she led the Second Year Review of the National Redress Scheme and in 2022 the New South Wales Health COVID-19 System Response Debrief.
The Review is consulting with key stakeholders over the coming months to understand the issues with the current regulatory settings and possible areas for reform.
For more information, contact the Review Secretariat via HealthRegReview@finance.gov.au.