A draft review of overseas health practitioner regulatory settings has recommended a series of reforms to National Cabinet to address workforce challenges, including for psychology.
The report by Robyn Kruk AO states: “Employers and health practitioners report our registration and related immigration processes are slower, more complex and expensive in many instances than our international counterparts.
“This is especially discouraging skilled health practitioners and heightening workforce shortages.”
While much of the review focuses on the recruitment of doctors and nurses, it also notes that “the most common allied health shortages are in occupational therapy, psychology, pharmacy and physiotherapy”.
Among the recommendations to government in the report are:
- Removing duplication and aligning evidentiary requirements so applicants only need to “tell us once”, with information shared across regulators and agencies.
- Enabling more cohorts from trusted countries to be “fast-tracked” through competent authority pathways.
- Better recognition of overseas health practitioners’ experience and skills.
The review also recommends that “Ahpra and National Boards … introduce a competent pathway for psychology, pharmacy, paramedicine and occupational therapy.”
A final report later this year “will consider longer-term reforms to ensure the regulatory system is fit-for-purpose and able to respond flexibly to support changes in health needs and models of care”.