• 24th Nov 2021

Paramedics represented largest growth in Ahpra registrants in 2020/2021


Paramedics comprised the largest growth in Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) registrants in 2020/2021, with a total of 21,492, up 8.3% on 2019/2020.

The Ahpra 2020/2021 annual report observed continued growth in the registered health workforce. As of 30 June 2021, there were 825,720 registered health practitioners across 16 regulated professions, 24,061 more than last year, up 3%. This included 26,595 health practitioners on the 2020 pandemic sub-register, which offers a surge workforce for the health system response to COVID-19. Overall, 75% of registered practitioners were women.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participation in the regulated health professions was 1.1%. Paramedicine had the second highest representation with 1.7% of their workforce identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Two pieces of work critical to the implementation of the regulation of paramedics were completed and published in the reporting year. The Professional capabilities for paramedicine practitioners (the professional capabilities) and Standards for accreditation of paramedicine education programs (the accreditation standards) were both approved and came into effect on 1 June.

The professional capabilities identify the knowledge, skills and professional attributes needed to safely and competently practise as a paramedic in Australia, as well as complementing the accreditation standards that are used to support and guide the delivery of education and training programs for paramedics.

Paramedicine Board Chair Professor Stephen Gough ASM said the work done by the Paramedicine Accreditation Committee to develop, consult upon and submit the accreditation standards for approval was outstanding.

In addition, the Paramedicine Accreditation Committee monitored 26 Board-approved programs and started to accredit these programs against newly developed paramedicine accreditation standards from 1 July 2021.

“Registered health practitioners have done exceptional work in very challenging times,” said Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher. “It is very encouraging to see the continued growth in the number of health practitioners over the past year. Now more so than ever, we all appreciate the critical role that these health practitioners play in keeping us all safe.”

Top 10 facts from Ahpra’s 2020/2021 annual report:

• Ahpra dealt with 84,607 new applications for registration, 41,548 applications were from new graduates, including nearly 23,300 nursing applications.

• Ahpra renewed the annual registration of 738,659 practitioners.

• 189,786 students were studying to be a registered health practitioner in over 860 accredited and approved programs of study delivered by more than 130 education providers. These programs of study provide graduates with the qualification they need for registration.

• 10,147 notifications about 7,858 practitioners were received by Ahpra. This was 0.9% fewer than in 2019/20 and 8.7% more than in 2018/19.

• The top three reasons for a notification were clinical care, medication issues and communication.

• The overall percentage (1.6-1.7%) of health practitioners with a notification stayed around the same in 2020/21.

• Ahpra received 568 notifications involving a possible failure to maintain appropriate professional boundaries which is an increase on previous years. These can range from comments made by a practitioner to a patient during a consultation to inappropriate sexual relationships. The serious nature is reflected in the outcomes with regulatory action taken more often about boundary notifications.

• 121 matters about professional misconduct were determined by independent tribunals: 96.7% resulted in disciplinary action.

• Ahpra completed 16 successful proceedings in the courts. All resulted in findings of guilt against the defendant on one or more charges, with penalties imposed ranging from a good behaviour bond to fines of up to $30,000.

• 3,516 practitioners were monitored by Ahpra to ensure health, performance and/or conduct requirements were being met during the year.

Download the Ahpra 2020/2021 annual report here.

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