National registration: all systems go?

Outrageous fees, prolific delays, registration bungles and data migration errors left the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency with few friends last year. However, all of this is set to change, with the Medical Board of Australia promising a smoother ride for doctors this year.

Dr Joanna Flynn, chair of the Medical Board of Australia, admits the transition hasn’t been all that easy.

“I think everybody realised that nothing would be perfect from the first day, but it is a bit like trying to get the Queen Mary up to full speed from a standing start,” she says. 

By all means it was a massive job – a total of 1.5 million practitioner records from 85 sources were moved to a single IT system. Yet from the outset it appeared AHPRA under-estimated the enormity of the task that lay ahead of them. 

First, it failed to employ enough staff for the 3000 enquiries it received per day, while training was only