Physiotherapy Board of Australia - Accreditation was a key focus of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia in 2016/17 according to AHPRA’s annual report, released today
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Accreditation was a key focus of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia in 2016/17 according to AHPRA’s annual report, released today

15 Nov 2017

The Annual Report for AHPRA and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2017 is now available to view online.

Over the past year, registration with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the Board) grew by 5.2% to 30,351 registered physiotherapists. This contingent now comprises 4.5% of all health practitioners in the National Accreditation and Registration Scheme (the National Scheme), according to information published today in the annual report by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). 

The 2016/17 annual report, produced by AHPRA and the 14 National Boards, is a comprehensive record of the National Scheme for the year ending 30 June 2017. The Board works in partnership with AHPRA to regulate the physiotherapy profession nationally.

‘Having been regulated for many years prior to the commencement of the National Scheme, physiotherapists know that their professional obligations help protect the public from harm,’ said Dr Charles Flynn, Chair of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. ‘Publishing these requirements on the Board website also helps patients understand what they can expect when they visit a physiotherapist.’

In 2016/17, after broad-ranging consultation with its stakeholders, the Board approved the revised Accreditation standard, which measures programs of study for the purposes of registration. The Board also approved three new programs of study, bringing the total number of approved programs for physiotherapists to 40, across 20 education providers.

‘The Board ‘s focus on accreditation this year extended to developing threshold competencies for registration as a physiotherapist n Australia and New Zealand in collaboration with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand,’ said Dr Flynn. ‘These thresholds have also been offered to international physiotherapy bodies for their consideration to promote consistency of entry-level requirements globally.’

A snapshot of the profession in 2016/17:

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions. Over 98.5% of all registered health practitioners renewed online and on time, with 99.2% of physiotherapists renewing online.
  • Increased registration year on year: Physiotherapists comprise 4.5% of all health practitioners registered in Australia, and the registrant base continues to grow (up 5.2% from 2015/16 to 30,351 registrants).
  • Students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 8,357 registered physiotherapy students (down 6.6% from 2015/16).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on the register: According to a workforce survey that practitioners can choose to fill out at the time of registration/renewal, 0.5% of physiotherapists are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (157 physiotherapists nationally).
  • Complaints received about physiotherapists: 80 notifications (complaints or concerns) were lodged with AHPRA about physiotherapists in 2016/17. This equates to 0.4% of the profession.
  • Eight mandatory notifications were made about physiotherapists: five were about standards, two about impairment and one was about sexual misconduct.
  • Immediate action was taken once during the year to suspend or cancel a physiotherapist’s registration while a matter was investigated.
  • Of the 83 matters closed about physiotherapists in 2016/17: 16.9% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on an physiotherapist’s registration; 2.4% resulted in a caution or reprimand; 1.2% resulted in suspension or cancellation of registration, and 78.3% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offence complaints: There were 940 statutory offence complaints made about physiotherapists in 2016/17 (up from 66 in 2015/16). The vast majority (903) were bulk complaints received about alleged advertising breaches, and did not require action.
  • Active monitoring cases as at 30 June 2017: 35 physiotherapists were monitored during the year for health, performance and/or conduct. 

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registration, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, see
Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory will be published in December.

For more information

Page reviewed 15/11/2017