The National Scheme

The National Scheme protects the public by creating a framework for the regulation of 16 health professions in Australia

The overarching goal of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) is to protect the public.

The National Scheme started in 2010 to:

  • ensure all registered health professionals meet the same, high-quality national professional standard
  • allow registered health practitioners to practise across Australia without having to re-register in each state and territory.

There are many ways that the National Scheme protects the public. This work is mostly carried out by the 15 National Boards for the registered health professions and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra). It includes:

  • registering more than 700,000 health practitioners
  • setting national standards for each of the registered health professions
  • accreditation training and education
  • managing notifications made about health practitioners
  • publishing an online public register of all registered health practitioners.

There are currently 16 registered health professions under the National Scheme: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice, Chinese medicine, chiropractic, dental, medical, medical radiation, nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathy, paramedicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and psychology.

Why the National Scheme was created

Before the National Scheme started, there were eight different regulatory systems for health practitioners across Australia, 85 separate health practitioner boards and more than 65 different pieces of legislation. This caused many problems, including:

  • The scope and requirements of professions were different across Australia, which meant that patients could not always expect the same standard of care
  • There were barriers to workforce mobility, with health practitioners needing to seek re-registration if they wanted to work in another state or territory or were asked to in an emergency
  • There were failures to identify instances of repeated practitioner misconduct or negligence and a risk that practitioners could avoid sanction by moving around Australia.

In 2005 the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to propose solutions to ensure quality health care is delivered over the next 10 years. The Productivity Commission recommended that there be a single national registration scheme for health practitioners and a single national accreditation system for education and training.

In 2008 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) signed an intergovernmental agreement that set out the framework for the National Scheme.

  • Find out more about our vision, purpose and values.

  • Find out more about how we strive for fair and positive change in the regulation of health practitioners.

  • Find out more about the current Ombudsman and Commissioner, Richelle McCausland.

  • Learn more about the laws that govern our work.

  • Find out how our office is an independent and impartial complaint service.

Find out more about how to make a complaint to the Ombudsman or Commissioner.

Learn more about how to apply for review of Ahpra's FOI decision.


Ahpra and the National Boards

Ahpra is responsible for administering the National Scheme.

Find out more about Ahpra and the National Boards

Our role

The National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and the National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner is an independent statutory officer appointed to oversee how the National Scheme is managed. Generally, this relates to whether the National Scheme’s policies and procedures are being followed.

Read more about us

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