Accreditation Systems Review

Accreditation Systems Review

Following consideration of recommendations from the final report of the Independent Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals (NRAS Review), the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (AHWMC) requested that the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) commission an independent review of accreditation systems.

Professor Michael Woods has been appointed by AHMAC as the Independent Reviewer and will be supported by a small project team based in Melbourne. Professor Woods will liaise with the NRAS Review Implementation Governance Group (the Governance Group established to oversight implementation of recommendations from the NRAS Review) throughout the project.

Latest News

COAG Health Council response to the Independent Accreditation Systems Review Final Report
Australian Health Ministers have responded to the Independent Accreditation Systems Review Final Report, Australia’s Health Workforce: strengthening the education foundation.

At the request of health ministers, the Workforce Regulation Project Reference Group of AHMAC’s Health Services Principal Committee conducted further consultation and analysis of the costs, risks and benefits of implementing the Final Report’s 32 recommendations. The subsequent Consultation report (available here) analysed stakeholder responses and delivered advice to health ministers on a recommended response to the review. Health ministers considered this further analysis work by AHMAC, including stakeholder views, and endorsed the proposed response outlined in the consultation report. A COAG Health Council communique outlining health ministers’ response to the review is available here.

Consultation on the Accreditation Systems Review Final Report - update 22 February 2019

A consultation paper is now available to support stakeholder feedback on the final report of the Independent Review of Accreditation Systems (ASR) within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health professions: Australia’s Health Workforce: strengthening the education foundation.

Consultation on Australia's Health Workforce: strengthening the education foundation

Response template

Responses to the consultation paper are due by 28 March 2019. Please send these to

On 12 October 2018 Health Ministers agreed that the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) should consult with stakeholders on the costs, benefits and risks of implementing the recommendations and the proposed governance models.

This consultation does not seek to re-prosecute all the issues dealt with in the final report. The ASR has already done this comprehensively. Rather, stakeholders are invited to consider the issues requested by Health Ministers, that is, the costs, benefits and risks of implementing the recommendations.

Since completion of the ASR, NRAS entities including AHPRA, national boards and accreditation authorities have progressed changes in the area of accreditation. The response to the final report will capture these changes where they are relevant to the recommendations.


Final Report 

On 12 October 2018, Health Ministers agreed to release the Final Report of the Independent Review of Accreditation Systems within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professionals.  Further stakeholder consultation will occur on the costs, benefits and risks of implementing the recommendations and the proposed governance models. Health Ministers have agreed to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council undertaking further analysis of the recommendations proposed by the Final Report and the development of a project plan for implementation, which will be subject to Health Ministers’ agreement.
The final report can be found here.

Draft Report – released 4 September 2017

The Draft Report is the penultimate product of the Accreditation Systems Review. It outlines possible reform options to streamline accreditation processes and enhance governance structures within NRAS. The aim is to achieve greater cost-effectiveness through consistency and collaboration across professions and delivery of an educational foundation for a health workforce capable of responding to the evolving needs of the community.


The Draft report has been informed by research, analysis of submissions to the Review and consultations with key stakeholders through public forums and targeted engagements. In addition, the Review has considered national and international developments in accreditation systems and health workforce education.


Accreditation Systems Review – Draft Report


Interested parties are invited to provide a written submission which addresses the options and recommendations in this Draft Report. A template is located within “Guidelines for preparing a submission” (link below).


Guidelines for preparing a submission


Submissions must be received by 12pm AEDST Monday 16 October 2017Submissions can be made by email to:


Discussion Paper - released 27 February 2017

This Discussion Paper forms part of the consultation process and raises issues for consideration and debate about the current accreditation systems for health professions.

Accreditation Systems Review Discussion Paper



In addition to ongoing stakeholder engagement, consultation forums were held in each state and territory during March 2017 to explore key topics and questions raised in the Discussion Paper. The presentation from the forums is available:

Consultation forum presentation


Written submissions

The Review received the following submissions in response to the Discussion Paper. See links below to the public submissions, placed here by permission of those who submitted them.

The Review does not publish submissions that are confidential, offensive, defamatory, or do not relate to the Review. Personal details have been removed for privacy reasons.

These submissions represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council, the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) or the Independent Reviewer. Please note that any opinions, advice, statements, views or other information expressed, are those of the authors and not those of the COAG Health Council, AHMAC or the Independent Reviewer. No responsibility is accepted by the COAG Health Council, AHMAC or the Independent Reviewer for any errors or omissions contained within these publications. The information contained within these publications is general information only.



Communiques and Bulletins

The Chair of AHMAC has released a communique announcing the appointment of Professor Michael Woods as the Independent Reviewer for the Accreditation Systems Review.

Accreditation Systems Review Bulletin 1: October 2016 

Accreditation Systems Review Bulletin 2: February 2017

Review Purpose

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health professions came into operation on 1 July 2010. NRAS was implemented through enactment of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law in each state and territory (the National Law). The objectives and guiding principles of NRAS are set out in section 3 of the National Law and include:

  • to facilitate the provision of high quality education and training of health practitioners
  • to facilitate the rigorous and responsive assessment of overseas-trained health practitioners
  • to enable the continuous development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable Australian health workforce
  • to enable innovation in the education of, and service delivery by, health practitioners.

In 2014, AHWMC commissioned an independent review of NRAS which identified significant concerns with the high cost, lack of transparency, accountability, duplication and approach of the existing accreditation processes. The NRAS Review recommended a number of measures to address these issues, including further exploration of the United Kingdom approach to accreditation.

In August 2015, Health Ministers accepted in principle the NRAS Review recommendations related to ‘Accreditation Functions’ but requested a more comprehensive review of accreditation processes within the National Scheme to inform further consideration. The COAG Health Council Communique of 7 August 2015 noted:  

‘While the recommendations will go some way to improve Australia’s accreditation arrangements, Health Ministers believe that more substantive reform of accreditation functions is required to address the issues raised’.

The purpose of this Accreditation Systems Review is to build upon the information collated through the NRAS Review and provide advice to the Ministerial Council on the governance, structure and cost-effectiveness of accreditation systems in the National Scheme. The desired outcome is to ensure that educational programs support a sustainable health workforce that is flexible and responsive to the changing health needs of the Australian community.

Review Scope

The Accreditation Systems Review will consider the findings of the 2005 Productivity Commission Report Australia’s Health Workforce and the NRAS Review and undertake further analysis of the Australian, UK and other international accreditation systems. In particular, the Review is to address:

  • the cost effectiveness of the existing systems for the delivery of accreditation functions
  • governance structures including reporting arrangements
  • opportunities for streamlining accreditation processes including consideration of other educational accreditation processes
  • the extent to which accreditation arrangements support educational innovation in programs including clinical training arrangements, use of simulation and inter-professional learning
  • opportunities for increasing consistency and collaboration across professions.

Consultation process

Feedback from stakeholders about their direct experience within NRAS will play a key part in informing the Accreditation Systems Review; particularly to identify:

  • the strengths and limitations of existing procedures and governance arrangements and opportunities for improvement
  • key issues and concerns about enabling the continuous development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable Australian health workforce
  • priority areas and options for reform.

It is recognised that a wide range of stakeholders have already provided feedback on the existing accreditation systems within Australia by participating in the 2014 NRAS Review through consultation forums and/or submissions. Indeed, many of the stakeholders also made significant contributions to the earlier Productivity Commission Report. The current Accreditation Systems Review project will consider, utilise and build on this expert body of knowledge to develop a consultation paper that provides a comprehensive review of accreditation systems and seeks to address the issues raised by Health Ministers.

Stakeholders and interested parties will have the opportunity to contribute to the Accreditation Systems Review through National Consultations in 2017 (dates to be announced) and submissions responding to the Review consultation paper (release date anticipated February 2017).

Details of the national consultation opportunities will be announced and circulated to interested parties once confirmed with jurisdictions. 

Project Overview and Timeframes

Key project stages



Preliminary research, environmental scan and international comparative analysis

  • Literature review and analysis.
  • Re-examination of the work of the NRAS Review and other relevant reviews; draw on further information and findings to compare Australian accreditation process with other accreditation systems and international schemes.
  • Preliminary consultations.


 Oct 2016 – Jan    2017

National consultation
  • Public release and promotion of a consultation paper identifying current arrangements, issues and feasible options for reform. Submissions invited from all interested parties.

  • Consultation forums to be held in each state and territory inviting participation from a wide range of interested stakeholders across health and education sectors and consumers.

 Feb – Mar 2017



 Mar – Apr 2017



Preparation and delivery of the final report


  • Analysis of data and information from submissions and national consultation forums.
  • Further research conducted as required.
  • Follow up consultation as required.

  • Public release of a draft report outlining possible options for reform. There will be a short period following its release for stakeholders to provide written comment.

  • Delivery of a final report to AHMAC and the COAG Health Council providing recommendations for reform.

  • Public release of the final report

 May – Aug 2017




 Sept - Oct 2017


 Nov 2017

Date to be advised



Independent Reviewer

Professor Michael Woods

Professor Woods is currently Professor of Health Economics in the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation at the University of Technology Sydney. He has Visiting Scholar status at Australian National University. Professor Woods has extensive experience in economics, the public sector and health policy. He has previously been Commissioner, then Deputy Chair, of the Australian Productivity Commission during which time he presided on over 20 national policy inquiries and reviews. Professor Woods has also been Under Treasurer for the Australian Capital Territory.

Contact Details

To register your interest in this Review and to receive future Bulletins, or to contact the Accreditation Systems Review team on any other matter, please email:

Key links

Accreditation Systems Review Bulletin 1: October 2016

Accreditation Systems Review Bulletin 2: February 2017

Independent Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals – final report <>

Productivity Commission Report Australia’s Health Workforce <>