About the Forum
The eleven health professions represented in the Health Professions Accreditation Councils’ Forum, formerly known as the Forum of Australian Health Professions Councils, are those in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 where an independent legal entity has been appointed by the National Board as the external accreditation authority for the profession.
Forum member Councils contribute individually and collectively to issues of national importance to the regulated health professions particularly in the area of accreditation of education, training and continuing professional development.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Forum was hosted by the Australian Medical Council in November 2007 at the time when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) was discussing an Intergovernmental Agreement on a national registration and accreditation scheme. The initial opportunity to share information included the organisations primarily responsible for accreditation of education and training programs in the then nine professions under discussion by COAG. The podiatry profession was invited to join the Forum in September 2008 when it was included in the NRAS. The initial meeting resulted in an agreement to continue meeting and working on joint statements in relation to the plans for the national scheme.
The purpose of the Forum is
- to work together on issues of national importance to the regulated health professions;
- to identify areas of common interest and concern in relation to the regulated health professions;
- to work toward a position of consensus on identified issues and concerns;
- to take joint action in areas of importance to the regulated health professions;
- to develop joint position statements which provide recommended policy directions for governments and other relevant stakeholders.
- setting educational standards for health professionals to develop safe and competent practitioners able to adapt to changes in professional practice over time;
- encouraging improvements in the education and training of health professionals to respond to evolving health needs and practices;
- assessing and accrediting education programs;
- assessing overseas qualified practitioners;
- collaborating and consulting with a wide range of stakeholder bodies and actively engaging members of their profession in the regulation of professional practice;
- regional and international developments, capacity building and partnerships.
Activities of the Forum
The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme
The Forum commenced by considering the COAG plans for health workforce reform. The Forum supported the aim of national registration for the regulated health professions, and that of national accreditation schemes to ensure practitioners are educated to appropriate standards. Since that time it has worked to ensure that the requirements of best practice in accreditation and the independence of the accreditation bodies is reflected in the National Law and in the implementation of the Law.
The Forum, particularly in relation to the planning for the NRAS, has met with State and Territory Ministers for Health; responded to consultations; made submissions (several of which are available on the Statements, Submissions and Position Papers); attended consultation forums; attended reference groups; and generally had significant involvement in the implantation project.
Following the commencement the NRAS the Forum has continued to be engaged with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and with the Chairs of the National Boards in relation to the operation of the Scheme, particularly in the area of accreditation, education and training. In 2011 the Forum, the National Boards and the AHPRA established a representative joint Accreditation Working Party to prepare papers for consideration by the full membership of the Forum and the National Boards and the AHPRA to ensure an agreed understanding of the accreditation functions under the National Law and the shared responsibilities. Since 2012 this cooperative work has continued with the establishment of the Accreditation Liaison Group – with representatives of AHPRA, the Chairs of the National Boards, and the Forum – has worked together in preparation for the review of the accreditation arrangements by the National Boards and developed the process for the consultation and review which was agreed by AHPRA, the National Boards and the Accreditation Councils.
The Forum has a representative on the AHPRA Professions Reference Group.
Good Practice in Accreditation
The Forum endorsed the Professions Australia document: Standards for Professional Accreditation Processes, June 2008 as representing the principles for professional accreditation processes agreed by the Councils. Since the Forum adopted this document in 2008 the NRAS has commenced. To assist in building a common understanding of good practice in accreditation of the registered health professions, with the permission of Professions Australia, the Forum has customised the general principles to apply particularly in the context of health professions education and to reflect the provisions and terminology of the National Law in a document Good Practice in Accreditation of Health Profession Education Programs. In addition the Forum has articulated the essential requirements for delivery of appropriate health profession education programs in Essential Elements of Education and Training in the Registered Health Professions. (All three documents are available on the Statements, Submissions and Position Papers.)
The Forum was actively engaged with the National Health Workforce Taskforce (NHWT) regarding the NHWT Projects, particularly those on Clinical Placements and Clinical Supervision.
The Forum meets with the CEO of Health Workforce Australia and has regular discussions with HWA regarding the projects of HWA. The Forum has representatives on each of the HWA Standing Advisory Committee for Higher Education and Training; and the HWA Project Advisory Group for the Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway Project.
The Forum contributed to the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Project through attendance at Consultation Forum, and with the then Chair being a member of the ALTC Academic Standards Project Health, Medicine and Veterinary Science Advisory Group. The Forum continues to have an involvement with the work that has continued from this project - the Harmonising Project.
The Forum commenced engagement with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) as it was being established and has met with the Chief Commissioner.
The relationships between the different agencies involved in Tertiary education agencies and National registration/regulation/accreditation agencies also Health workforce and health service quality agencies have been mapped for information.
Meetings of the Forum
The Forum has met regularly since the inaugural meeting of the Councils on 7 November 2007.
The Australian Medical Council has continued to provide the secretariat support for the Forum since its inception.
|Dr Joanna Flynn, Australian Medical Council (November 2007 - September 2008)||Emeritus Professor Gina Geffen AM, Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (September 2008 - August 2010)|
|Professor Joan McMeeken, Australian Physiotherapy Council (September 2008 – April 2011)||Dr Susan Gaffney, Australian Dental Council (August 2010 – March 2011)|
|Professor Richard Smallwood AO, Australian Medical Council (April 2011 – December 2012)||Dr Robert Broadbent, Australian Dental Council (March 2011 - July 2012)|
|Dr Nicholas Voudouris, Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (July 2012 – December 2012)|
|Dr Nicholas Voudouris, Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (December 2012 - )||Ms Lyn LeBlanc, Australian Dental Council (February 2013 - )|