Paramedics again comprised the largest growth in Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) registrants in 2021/2022, with a total of 23,053, an increase of 7.3% on 2020/2021.
The Ahpra 2021/2022 annual report observed continued growth in the registered health workforce. There were 852,272 registered health practitioners across 16 regulated professions as of 30 June 2022, an increase of 26,552 (3.2%) on the previous year. This included 20,781 health practitioners on the temporary pandemic sub-register which allowed eligible, recently retired health practitioners to help with the response to COVID-19. Overall, 76.2% of registered practitioners were women.
There are now more registered health practitioners in every state and territory.
“The past year has seen our healthcare systems under exceptional pressure and supporting our health workforce is more important than ever. We have aimed to play our part fully to ensure all Australians have access to safe, professional and high-quality registered health practitioners,” said Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher.
The number of registered paramedics continued to grow, and now represent 2.7% of all registered health practitioners, of whom 47.6% identified as female and 52.3% as male.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples remain under-represented across the health workforce; however, paramedicine had the second highest representation with 1.8% of the workforce identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Top 10 facts from Ahpra’s 2021/2022 annual report:
• Ahpra received 85,052 new applications for registration; 44,098 applications were from new graduates, including nearly 24,340 nursing applications. Ahpra renewed the annual registration of 765,078 practitioners.
• The largest growth in registrants was paramedics (up 7.3%), followed by occupational therapy (up 7%). 1.2% of all registrants identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander across all registered health professions.
• 184,353 students were studying to be a registered health practitioner in more than 840 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.
• 10,803 notifications about 8,380 practitioners were received by Ahpra. This is 6.5% more than 2020/21. The overall percentage (1.6-1.7%) of health practitioners with a notification stayed around the same.
• Clinical care remains the top reason for a notification, followed by communication and medication issues.
• Ahpra received 925 notifications about lack of appropriate professional boundaries (63% increase). The increase can partly be attributed to new concern types relating to sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare, and expectations of practitioners to maintain respectful, professional practice.
• 187 matters about professional misconduct were determined by independent tribunals: 98.4% resulted in disciplinary action.
• Ahpra completed 11 prosecutions and three appeals in the courts: 10 resulted in findings of guilt against the defendant and one case was withdrawn. The three appeals upheld the initial findings of guilt.
• 2,568 practitioners were monitored by Ahpra to ensure health, performance and/or conduct requirements were being met. This 1.9% increase was in line with registration trends.
• National Boards continued to provide funding to several practitioner support services during the year including Dental Practitioner Support, Drs4Drs, Nurse and Midwife Support and Pharmacists’ Support Service.
Download the Ahpra 2021/2022 annual report here.