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Allied Health Insights Vol.3 No.11: Health Worker Regulation Under The Spotlight

In this edition of Allied Health Insights

Fuelled by concerns over the ability of existing regulatory frameworks to adequately protect public safety and ensure high standards of care, health worker regulation is increasingly coming under scrutiny in Australia.

Most recently, this has placed aged care and disability support workers at front and centre of regulatory discussion, with the 2021 and 2023 Aged Care and Disability Royal Commissions, as well as the NDIS Review, recommending mandatory registration.

The question of ‘how best to be regulated’ is one that continually arises, with audiologists and exercise and sports science practitioners expressing a desire in recent years to be regulated at the national level through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, under Ahpra and the national boards.

It’s an opportune time to drill down on how different types of regulation work, and who better to ask than HealthWork International Senior Policy Advisor Dr Anne-Louise Carlton.

Anne-Louise played a pivotal role in establishing the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, under which the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the 15 National Boards that govern different health professions operate. Recently, Anne-Louise was part of a multi-national research team that carried out an extensive review of the global literature on health practitioner regulation, commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO).

We cover a lot of ground in this chat: are there “unregulated” professions?; is registration under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme a silver bullet?; just how difficult is it to put together a code of conduct for a specific profession? We talk about the pros and cons of self-regulation, current innovations, and what the future holds.

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