03 Apr 2020
As we continue to face the biggest public health challenge of our lives, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will test our health system and each of us like nothing before.
While many are caring for sick and frightened patients, some of us will face our own illness and need to care for our families and loved ones. Some will be called on to work in unfamiliar situations where our knowledge and experience is needed most.
Professional judgement will be critical to guide us when resources are limited and demand intense.
The Board and Ahpra understand that the current national emergency presents extreme challenges and we sincerely thank you for your commitment and the care you provide. We know our regulatory approach must be modified to accommodate these exceptional circumstances.
The Board has already started to make a series of pragmatic decisions, temporarily modifying some of our regulatory requirements, while maintaining patient safety. These changes are set out below. We have also published responses to questions we’ve been asked, some of which may apply to you.
Our profession has well-established behaviours and values which provide a framework for ethical decision-making in a wide range of situations. You should continue to apply such guidance as far as is practical, recognising these are unique and challenging circumstances.
We must care for our patients, ourselves and each other. In providing care the Board does not expect you to place yourself in harm’s way. Ensuring effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and following relevant infection control requirements and public health advice is key.
The Board is aware some health services will be reduced or stopped, including where care cannot be provided in ways that ensure both the practitioner’s and the patient’s safety.
If you know or suspect you are infected, you should follow current public health advice including self-isolating and social distancing. If you have pre-existing health conditions that increase your risk of infection, you should manage this actively, such as by discussing it with your colleagues or treating practitioners, employer or place of work.
The Board has agreed to the following measures. We are closely monitoring the situation and may make further changes as needed.
We encourage you to continue to do CPD that is relevant to your scope of practice. However, we understand that you may have difficulty meeting CPD requirements this year as a result of conference cancellations and the re-prioritisation necessary to meet workforce needs.
The Board will not take action if you cannot meet the CPD registration standard due to the COVID-19 pandemic when you renew your registration this year.
The Board will keep a close watch on the situation to determine whether the 2021 renewal year is affected.
The Board and Ahpra will provide regular updates on our website and via email as the situation develops and we respond.