Demystifying the pandemic response sub-register for nurses and midwives wanting to return to practice during the COVID-19 crisis

ANMF members and others have been contacting the union wanting to know about the new pandemic response sub-register, that was recently established by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the Nursing and Midwifery Board, the Medical Board and the Pharmacy Board.

To answer your questions, the ANMJ has put together the following information to help demystify the pandemic response sub-register.

What is the sub-register?

The new sub-register is a short-term pandemic response register with AHPRA which has been set up to help fast track and allow more health practitioners to return to practice for the next 12 months.


Nurses, midwives, doctors and pharmacists who have previously held general and specialist registration and have left the Register of practitioners in the past three years, OR moved to non-practising registration in the past three years.

Only those who are properly qualified, competent and suitable will be returned to the register.

I meet the criteria will I be joined to the sub-register?

AHPRA plans to contact all practitioners who meet the criteria to alert them that they have been automatically added to the pandemic response sub-register.

However, there is no obligation to be on the register and you can opt-out at any time for any reason.

If I return to practice how does it work?

For practitioners who choose to stay on the pandemic sub-register and return back to work, will need to comply with the profession’s Code of Conduct, professional indemnity insurance requirements and work to their scope of practice.

After 12 months (or sooner if the pandemic subsides), everyone will be removed from the register.

If practitioners want to continue to practise after that time they will need to apply for registration through the standard process.

What kind of work will I be doing if I choose to return to work?

You will not necessarily need to work in a COVID-19 clinic or in a hospital or a defined workplace, if you are on the pandemic response sub-register.

There are many roles that will need to be filled as health services cope with the anticipated extra demand.

However, APHRA stresses it’s important you work within your scope of practice.

 When does the pandemic response sub-register come into effect?

It is expected to be in place by 6 April 2020

Is there any fee to be on the register?  

Application and registration fees have been waived for practitioners on the pandemic response sub-register.

 Where do I go for more information?

The AHPRA website has detailed information on the pandemic response sub-register

 * information sourced from the AHPRA and National Boards website

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