Senate to probe AHPRA chaos

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A Senate Inquiry will investigate AHRPA’s delays in renewing registrations for health practitioners. The delays have resulted in health professionals being unable to practice despite sending in their registration forms before deadline, and in patients losing Medicare rebates.

Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann moved to establish the inquiry, by the Finance and Public Administration Committee, after it was revealed that thousands of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other health workers have been unable to work after bungling by AHPRA left them without professional registration.

Some were de-registered and had to stop treating patients, others treated patients while de-registered with all the problems that could pose – including Medicare’s refusal to pay patient rebates and the likely refusal of private insurers to provide coverage.

Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said the move to a national system had been chaotic for a large number of health professionals.

“Health Minister Nicola Roxon just shrugged her shoulders and said it wasn’t her problem as doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and other professionals were forced from their practices. It was the height of incompetence,” Mr Dutton said.

Health ministers intervened last month to give the agency extra resources and federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon promised no one would be denied their Medicare rebates because of the problems.

AHPRA chief Martin Fletcher concedes there has been start-up issues as a result of the scope of the change. But the agency has “an extensive program of work under way to address these and welcomes the opportunity to help the Senate understand them”.

 

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