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.
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.
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.
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