Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce – Scope of practice review

The independent scope of practice review examines the barriers and incentives health practitioners face working to their full scope of practice in primary care.

About the Review

The Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report explored critical areas for government action to redesign primary care as the core of an effective, modern health system.

The report recommended governments work together to review the barriers and incentives for primary health care professionals working to their full scope of practice.

National Cabinet endorsed the taskforce recommendations on 28 April 2023. The Australian Government provided funding for the now under way scope of practice review through the 2023-24 Budget.

Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce is an independent review, led by Professor Mark Cormack. It will look at evidence about health professionals’ ability to deliver on their full scope of practice in primary care.

The review will identify opportunities to remove the barriers stopping health professionals working to their full scope of practice. It will also look for examples of multi-disciplinary teams working together at the top of their scope of practice to deliver best practice primary care.

The review team will undertake a broad consultation process to consider and hear all perspectives and voices. The review will consult with:

  • governments
  • peak bodies
  • health professions
  • regulators
  • education and training providers
  • employers
  • funders
  • professional bodies
  • consumers.

For more details see the terms of reference.

Why it is important

The review will explore the system changes and practical improvements needed to support greater productivity and improved, safe and affordable care for patients.  

With the right technology, innovation and regulation in place, the health care system can gain the full benefit of professional skills and expertise. 


The review will start by looking at evidence on health professionals working to, or being prevented from exercising their full scope of practice in primary care. This includes the:

  • benefits
  • outcomes
  • associated risks.

The review will outline steps and recommendations that aim to deliver:

  • better health care and outcomes for patients
  • a more productive health system  
  • better access to health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rural and remote Australians, and other marginalised groups 
  • greater job satisfaction for health professionals, leading to improved recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce.

Independent reviewer

Professor Mark Cormack will lead the Independent Scope of Practice Review.

Professor Cormack works at the Australian National University (ANU) College of Health and Medicine, and established the ANU’s National Centre for Health Workforce Studies.

His academic role follows a long career of senior roles in Commonwealth, state and ACT government. Including CEO of Health Workforce Australia, CEO of ACT Health and Deputy Secretary at three Australian Government Departments.

Read Professor Cormack’s post about the review and how it is progressing. 

How to take part

There will be a number of opportunities for stakeholders to give input during the review. This is to ensure the review:

  • is evidence based
  • has a well-informed understanding of issues
  • hears perspectives from broad range of stakeholders.

The review currently invites submissions from anyone with an interest in primary care to contribute. Share your views about the benefits, risks and challenges of primary health care professionals working to their full scope of practice. Your input will help shape the next stage of the review and its recommendations.

To receive updates from the lead reviewer, contact the review team to add your details to the review mailing list.

The review’s terms of reference has further detail about how you can share your perspective and views throughout the review.

Date last updated:

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