Expanded Scope and Accountability? National Regulatory Reform of Health Professionals in Australia

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Fiona PACEY, The University of Sydney, Australia
Stephanie SHORT, The University of Sydney, Australia
In 2010, a drastic change occurred in the operation of health professional regulation in Australia. Prior to this date, there had been in excess of 80 organisations across the country involved in the registration and accreditation of health practitioners.

Those arrangements across Australia’s six states and two territories had delivered inconsistences of governance, registration requirements, fees and comparative self-regulation. Within the context of a political desire for economic productivity and efficiency, regulatory failure galvanised governments into action and the ‘National Scheme for the Registration and Accreditation for the Health Professions’ came into being in July 2010.

Now, fourteen professional groups have consistent arrangements relating to continuing professional development, criminal history, English language skill, insurance and recency of practice. Consumers have a clearer pathway to have issues addressed, and the nation has more reliable workforce data.

This paper will report on the findings of a qualitative research project that has married the analysis of documentary evidence and policy mapping with key informant interviews of policy actors and core profession stakeholders.

Two core issues will be addressed in the paper. First, how in its first five years, the scheme’s operational entities (its respective professional boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) have expanded the scope of regulatory influence, and secondly – exploring how an entity established through legislation and parliaments, answerable to a collection of ministers with no legal standing can be accountable to the community.