Thursday, 1 June 2023


Health workforce

Health workforce

Gaelle BROAD (Northern Victoria) (16:02): (280) The action I seek is for the Minister for Health to help support nursing staff that have trained overseas to be able to join Victoria’s health workforce. My constituent has experienced a very long and drawn-out process seeking to re-register as a nurse in Australia. Mrs Lim graduated from nursing with honours in the United Kingdom and worked as a critical care nurse for eight years. In 2009 she moved to Australia with a young family together with her husband, who is a doctor at a major regional hospital.

Eighteen months ago Mrs Lim was offered a job as a nurse at a local GP clinic, so she looked into what she needed to do to register as a nurse here in Australia. She was advised that she could complete a 16-week return-to-nursing course and would first need to apply for provisional registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, AHPRA. That process has taken 18 months at significant cost. Mrs Lim had to complete two sets of police checks. Due to their delays, one expired and she was asked to resubmit. This cost almost $1000 as she had to get one check for every country that she has lived in. She was also asked to obtain a transcript for her university studies, which cost another $500. Then there were fees related to the application amounting to $640 and a $180 registration fee. It has taken 18 months for AHPRA to advise that she is ineligible to return to nursing in Australia. They apologised for the misinformation and refunded the $180 registration fee. The only way for Mrs Lim to work again as a nurse is to completely retrain or complete a minimum of 450 hours of practice as a registered nurse outside of Australia.

When hospitals and GP clinics, particularly in regional areas, are under pressure and in desperate need of nursing staff, it is hard to believe the hoops well-trained people with experience are being asked to jump through. In this case AHPRA took 18 months to make a decision, and Mrs Lim is still unable to work as a nurse, despite being offered a job due to her training and experience. My constituent is happy for me to pass on contact details in the hope that the minister can help resolve this matter and by doing so open the door for many more nurses to join the health workforce in Victoria.