Physiotherapy Board of Australia - Recency of practice protects the public – find out more before you renew your registration
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Recency of practice protects the public – find out more before you renew your registration

09 Aug 2017

Are you a qualified and trained physiotherapist but concerned about how recent your practice is?

Perhaps you are planning to return to work after a period of extended leave and want to know the requirements you must meet. Physiotherapists, along with other regulated health professionals, have to consider their regulatory responsibilities, which include declaring recent practice.

Regulation of physiotherapy practice protects the public

In order to practise as a physiotherapist in Australia, you are required by the National Law to be registered with the Board. AHPRA supports the Board to help you register quickly and easily.

As a regulator, the Board sets minimum requirements, through its standards, codes, guidelines and policies, for physiotherapy practice, maintains an online Register of practitioners and holds to account physiotherapists who fail to meet its requirements.

The National Law requires the Board to ensure, among other things, that practising physiotherapists have the appropriate level of recent practice to be able to provide care to patients.

Meeting your recency of practice obligations means you are able to practise competently and safely, while protecting patients and making sure they receive high quality care.

Revised recency of practice standard now in force

The Board makes it clear what the minimum requirements are for recent practice in their Recency of practice registration standard. This was updated last year and took effect from 1 December 2016.

This standard applies to all registered physiotherapists except those with non-practising registration.

You will need to meet the obligations of the revised standard by the time you renew you registration in 2017.

What’s changed?

The key change to the Board’s recency of practice requirements is that a minimum hours of practice requirement has been introduced.

What is recent practice?

To meet the standard, you must practise for a minimum total of:

  • 450 hours in the previous three years (approx. three months fulltime), or
  • 150 hours in the previous 12 months (approx. one month fulltime).

Most practitioners who are currently practising will meet the revised standard.

This change may affect those physiotherapists who are currently practising infrequently, or who have had a recent absence from practice, or who are currently taking a break from practice and wish to return to practice.

The Board encourages you to review the new registration standard to check whether you will be affected by the changes.

If you cannot meet the minimum hours of practice in the revised standard, this will not necessarily prevent you from returning to practice as a physiotherapist. The standard sets out the options for physiotherapists who don’t meet the standard, including those with non-practising registration and physiotherapists who are not registered and wish to return to practice after 1 December 2016.

Examples that may help you

Physiotherapy Board - Recency of Practice - Examples

In addition to the above, any combination, provided there is either 150 hrs, which is equal to one month Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in the year immediately prior to registration renewal, or 450 hours over the previous three years.

Fact checker: what do we mean by ‘practice’?

A common question is ‘what is meant by practice’ as part of health practitioner regulation. The definition of ‘practice’ is used in a number of National Board registration standards.

It means any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a practitioner in their regulated health profession. Practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes using professional knowledge in a direct non-clinical relationship with patients or clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery of health services in the health profession.

Still have a question? Helpful resources

  • You can read these  registration standards on the Board’s website.
  • The Board has also published guidelines and FAQs to support the standard and to help practitioners to understand its requirements.
  • Renewal is approaching ‒ are your contact details up-to-date? It is important that your contact details are up-to-date to receive renewal reminders from AHPRA and information from the Board. You can check your details via the Login icon at the top right of the AHPRA website. Email accounts need to be set to receive communications from AHPRA and the Board to avoid misdirection to an account junk box.

Page reviewed 9/08/2017