Physiotherapy Board of Australia - 2021/22 annual summary

2021/22 annual summary

Physiotherapy in 2021/22


40,018 physiotherapists

  • Up 6.3% from 2020/21
  • 4.7% of all registered health practitioners

0.7% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

64.7% female; 35.3% male


Age: <25 6.9%, 25-34 40.9%, 35-44 25.1%, 45-54 14.0%, 55-64 9.6%, 65-74 3.2%, >75 0.3%



136 notifications lodged with Ahpra about

117 physiotherapists

  • 227 notifications about 196 physiotherapists made Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data
  • 0.5% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: 54.4% Patient, relative or member of the public, 16.9% Other practitioner, 9.6% Health complaints entity, 7.4% Employer, 4.4% Board initiated, 7.3% Other

Most common types of complaint

Most common types of complaint: 26.5% Clinical care, 9.6% Boundary violation, 8.8% Behaviour, 8.1% Communication, 4.4% Breach of non-offence provision - National Law, 4.4% Documentation, 3.7% Offence against other law, 2.9% Health impairment, 1.5% Confidentiality, 30.1% Other

5 immediate actions taken

17 mandatory notifications received

  • 10 about professional standards

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 133 notifications closed, 7.5% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 9.0% cautioned or reprimanded, 0.8% registration suspended or cancelled, 19.5% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 63.2% no further action


36 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year

47 cases being monitored at 30 June:

  • 13 for conduct
  • 4 for health
  • 3 for performance
  • 8 for prohibited practitioner/student
  • 19 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Criminal offence complaints

15 criminal offence complaints made

  • 13 about title protection
  • 2 about advertising breaches

13 closed

Referred to an adjudication body

3 matters decided by a tribunal

No matters decided by a panel


1 appeal lodged

From the Chair

Issues this year

The Physiotherapy Board of Australia continued to make progress on our strategic work. The Board’s primary concern was the workforce issues created by the ongoing pandemic. To address these, it has supported the scheme-wide response strategies, such as the pandemic sub-register. The Board started to meet in person again in March, with a combination of face-to-face and online meetings.

Regulatory response to COVID-19

The Board continued to respond to the needs of the profession, healthcare services and the public by modifying the regulatory approach to support the profession through the pandemic. A flexible approach to continuing professional development and recency of practice requirements was maintained.

This work included enabling the continuing registration of physiotherapists on the pandemic subregister to give additional support for the COVID-19 surge workforce and vaccination roll-out.

The Board released the cross-profession
Supervised practice framework.

Policy updates

The Board has continued to work with the New Zealand Physiotherapy Board on a first review of the bi-national practice thresholds, with a focus on updating the wording in relation to cultural safety and digital competence.

The Board released a revised Code of conduct
in partnership with several other Boards.

Stakeholder engagement

Given the ongoing and fluctuating travel restrictions, the Board relied mostly on online engagement methods. It held a series of webinars on physiotherapy and non-medical prescribing to gain a shared understanding of this concept.

The Board valued increased engagement and partnership with its stakeholders, including the Australian Physiotherapy Association, the Australian Physiotherapy Council, the NSW Physiotherapy Council and the Council of Physiotherapy Deans of Australia and New Zealand (CPDANZ). These partnerships have been critical to our pandemic response and remain pertinent to moving our strategic projects forward.

Strategic projects

The Board further developed a background paper, building on a literature review and exploration report previously completed, on whether to endorse prescribing for physiotherapists. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Board conducted webinars to explore this concept further. We shared the paper with key stakeholders and received significant feedback. The next step is to engage with key stakeholders in person via a forum.

Following its workforce analysis work last year and given COVID's impact on the healthcare workforce, the Board is committed to exploring and understanding the physiotherapy workforce, practitioner wellbeing and the factors that influence it.

Ms Kim Gibson

Page reviewed 22/11/2022