ABOUT THIS SUBMISSION
UA supports accreditation and has itself worked with Professions Australia (PA) to develop joint Principles for Professional Accreditation to streamline and improve consistency in the professional accreditation of university coursesii,1. UA believes that, at its best, accreditation provides a valuable mechanism for protecting the interests of the general public (the primary focus of NRAS), students, education providers and employers by ensuring that educational programs are delivered at a level that meets or exceeds standards developed by experts within the professions iii. It enables continuous quality improvement, brings professional knowledge to university teaching practices, assists in the consistent delivery of competent and appropriately skilled health professionals and provides a pathway for developing the future health workforce in line with emerging trends. Accrediting authorities under NRAS also require monitoring of graduate outcomes and benchmarking which is useful and can otherwise be difficult to achieve in a competitive environment. NRAS’s connection between accreditation and national registration through AHPRA also assists in gathering health professional data to support a range of activities including workforce analysis/planning and best practice course delivery.
At its worst, however, experiences of health professional course accreditation can be overly bureaucratic. It can duplicate assessments better or already conducted by other regulatory authorities, focus unnecessarily on process and input rather than output and outcome measures and constrain innovation regarding future workforce development. While this is not the case all the time or across all health courses, UA considers that there are still some areas for improvement. These are addressed below under the three main discussion paper headings. Of note, while UA understands that the review is focused on the current fourteen2 NRAS professions, reference is also made within the submission to the self-regulating professions.
1 The Statement is designed for university course accreditation broadly, including, but not limited to, the health professions.