Physiotherapy Board of Australia - 2022/23 annual summary
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2022/23 annual summary

Physiotherapy in 2022/23

Registration

  • 42,098 physiotherapists
    • Up 5.2% from 2021/22
    • 4.8% of all registered health practitioners
  • 3,329 first-time registrants
    • 2,220 domestic (including new graduates)
    • 1,109 international
  • 0.7% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 64.0% female; 36.0% male

Age

Figure showing age groups of physiotherapists. The biggest age group is 25 to 34 years, followed by 35 to 44 years.

Regulation

  • 140 notifications lodged with Ahpra about 124 physiotherapists
  • 224 notifications about 191 physiotherapists made Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data
    • 0.5% of the profession Australia-wide

Sources of notifications

Pie chart showing that half of notifications were raised by a patient, their relative or a member of the public.

Most common types of complaints

Pie chart showing that the most common types of complaints were clinical care and boundary violation.

Notifications closed

Pie chart showing that more than half of the 135 notifications closed resulted in no further regulatory action. The next biggest categories were caution or reprimand, referral to another body or retention by a health complaints entity.

  • 9 immediate actions taken
  • 15 mandatory notifications received
    • 6 about impairment
    • 5 about professional standards
    • 4 about sexual misconduct
  • 36 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year
  • 30 criminal offence complaints made
  • 4 notifications finalised at tribunal
  • No matters decided by a panel
  • 1 appeal lodged

A report from the Chair

Workforce

The Physiotherapy Board of Australia made progress on its strategic work, and an important focus was workforce and getting a better understanding of the attrition of physiotherapists in Australia. In January, the Board agreed to collaborate with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) on research into physiotherapist attrition rates. The aims of this research are to help understand why physiotherapists are leaving the profession and what factors contribute to this decision. Practitioners will be surveyed in an effort to ascertain the reasons for changing careers or moving away from clinical practice.

The Board has also been involved in scheme-wide responses to increasing the workforce by reviewing the process for assessing overseas practitioners to register for practice in Australia and facilitating more efficient ways of supporting overseas-trained practitioners.

Assessing physiotherapy prescribing

The Board held a forum in July on physiotherapy prescribing in Australia. The forum aimed to discuss with key stakeholders the public value of physiotherapy prescribing, and to get the practitioner perspective. The forum was well attended and has led to the formation of a national working group, which is made up of physiotherapy practitioners from various clinical settings and expertise, representatives from the APA and the Board, as well as a number of prescribers and consumers. The working group is focused on developing a position on physiotherapy prescribing, assessing its potential public value and determining the clinical settings that would be suitable.

Physiotherapy practice thresholds

The Board continued to work with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand on a first review of the two countries’ national practice thresholds, with a focus on updating the wording about cultural safety and digital competence. The proposed amendments include updating key competencies to incorporate providing culturally safe care, communicating in a culturally safe way, and having awareness and understanding of any cultural biases. Another change includes the requirement for digital competency, reflecting the increasing use and reliance on technology to deliver services remotely. The consultation closed in June and the physiotherapy practice thresholds are being finalised for implementation.

Strategic projects

The Board has been involved in multiple professional policy developments and the review of several registration standards. The English language standard, recency of practice standard and continuing professional development standard are all under review.

The Board continues its commitment to cultural safety and eliminating racism in healthcare by participating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement. We continue to seek to understand the challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in both working in and receiving healthcare. And we continue our efforts to identify ways that the Board can support the eradication of racism in healthcare.

Ms Kim Gibson, Chair


 
 
Page reviewed 14/03/2024