Physiotherapy Board of Australia - December 2018
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December 2018

Issue 22 - December 2018

From the Chair

Kim GibsonSince our last newsletter, the membership of the Board has changed. On 2nd October, Health Ministers appointed four new and eight returning members to the Physiotherapy Board of Australia and other National Boards. Charles Flynn, the previous Chair, has retired after nine years on the Board and I have been appointed Chair for a three-year term until 2 October 2021.

Charles was an inaugural Board member, led two Board committees and finally served as Chair for two years. He served as a member of the Victorian Physiotherapy Board for many years before the start of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) in 2010. I would like to add to the accolades given to Charles for his unstinting work in physiotherapy regulation over the years, noting that as I take up the baton the Board has contributed significantly to the Scheme’s vision of being recognised as a world leader in health practitioner regulation.

I also thank retiring Board members, Libby Kosmala (community member), Pippa Tessmann (practitioner member from NT), and Ali Bell (practitioner member from SA). Apart from the friendships forged during their terms, I am proud to say that because of their contributions, the Board has set a course that consistently applies right-touch regulation in all its decisions, adhering to the Regulatory principles for the National Scheme.

We welcome new members Sheila Lennon (practitioner member from SA), Paula Harding (practitioner member from Vic.), Kate Waterford (community member), and Sally Adamson (practitioner member from the NT) and look forward to the experience and skills they bring to the Board. Brief biographies of each member will soon be available on the Board’s website.

As I take on the role of Chair I am entering my third term as the WA practitioner member and look forward to leading the Board on the path set so ably by my predecessors. We send our Season’s Greetings to you all.

Kim Gibson 
Chair, Physiotherapy Board of Australia

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Board news

National Board stakeholder breakfasts program will continue in 2019

The Board is committed to working cross-professionally and contributing to the continued development and reform of the National Scheme and physiotherapy regulation globally as active participants in the International Network of Physiotherapy Regulatory Authorities.

One of our main strategic objectives is to work with our stakeholders to ensure access to safe, high quality physiotherapy for the Australian public. To that end, coinciding with both its September meeting and the APA NEXT conference in Hobart, the Board held a stakeholder breakfast in Hobart for interested stakeholders, conference goers and Tasmanian physiotherapists. The purpose of our stakeholder sessions is to give others an opportunity to meet Board members and to hear about the Board’s current work and regulatory issues.

At the Hobart session, Catherine Miedecke, AHPRA’s Tasmanian State Manager, gave insights into current local events from AHPRA’s perspective, and Lyn Green commented on the roles of community members on the Board. Feedback is generously provided by attendees, which helps the Board understand the issues on the minds of physiotherapists and to shape future events.

As the Board settles its meeting dates and places for 2019, we’ll keep you posted about the next stakeholder breakfast, and send invitations to all physiotherapists in that jurisdiction, so watch this space.

National Boards breakfast 

Image: Chair Kim Gibson presenting to stakeholders at the Board's breakfast session.

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Have you renewed your registration? There’s still time

Physiotherapists had until 30 November 2018 to renew their registration on time. If you haven’t renewed yours, you are now in the late period. You can still renew in December, and the quickest and easiest way to renew is online.

If your application is received during this one-month late period, you can continue practising while your application is processed. Applications received in December will incur a late payment fee in addition to the annual renewal fee.

If you do not apply to renew your registration by 31 December 2018 you will have lapsed registration. Your name will be removed from the national Register of practitioners and you will not be able to use the protected title physiotherapist or practise in Australia.

There is still the option of submitting a fast-track application after this date, but you cannot practise until your application is processed and your registration details are updated on the national register.

For more information about registration renewal see the Board’s website.

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Latest registration statistics released

The Board has released its quarterly registration statistics for the period 1 July to 30 September 2018. Registrant numbers have increased from 31,995 as of the June report, to 32,218. Of these, 496 people have limited registration and 1,122 have non-practising registration. The highest percentage of practitioners (29.07 per cent) have their principal place of practice in NSW.

For more information, visit the Board’s Statistics page.

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National Scheme news

AHPRA’s 2017/18 annual report is released

The annual report for AHPRA and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2018 is now available to view online.

The report provides a nationwide snapshot and highlights our multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation across the work of the National Scheme. Our mission is to make sure that Australians have access to a safe and competent registered health workforce.

Insights from the year include:

  • More practitioners: There were 23,800 more registered health practitioners, totalling 702,741 health practitioners across the 15 regulated professions. Student registrations increased by almost 4,000 registrants to 161,114.
  • Assuring individuals seeking registration are trained, qualified and competent: Over 740 accredited approved programs of study delivered by over 330 education providers.
  • Growth in notifications: This year, AHPRA received more notifications than in any other year since the National Scheme began (7,276), an increase of 5.5% nationally (1.6% of all registered health practitioners). The top three notifier complaints related to clinical care (41.0%), medication issues (12.6%) and health impairment (8.9%).
  • Improved management of notifications about practitioners: While we received more notifications than ever before, we also closed more than ever before during the year (7,105). AHPRA is committed to improving the notification experience for both notifier and practitioner.
  • Dealing with statutory complaints: This year, we received 416 new offence complaints relating to title and practice protection and 1,043 complaints related to advertising.
  • Ensuring public safety through monitoring and compliance: 5,005 practitioners had their registration monitored in 2017/18. The majority of active monitoring cases related to additional requirements about suitability and eligibility for registration.
  • Prosecutions to protect the public: AHPRA completed 13 proceedings in the Magistrates’ and Local Courts. All prosecution resulted in findings of guilt.

‘AHPRA works in close partnership with the National Boards’, AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said. ‘Our annual report highlights the joint work we do to regulate health practitioners efficiently and effectively to keep the community safe.’

To view and download the 2017/18 annual report, visit the AHPRA website.

In the coming months, AHPRA and the National Boards will publish profession-specific summaries and these will also be available for download from the AHPRA website.

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National Boards support more public information on register

Changes to the national Register of practitioners will make it easier to access public information about health practitioners across Australia.

The online Register of practitioners has accurate, up-to-date information about the registration status of all registered health practitioners in Australia including physiotherapists. As decisions are made about a practitioner’s registration renewal or disciplinary proceedings, the register is updated to inform the public about the current status of individual practitioners and any restrictions placed upon their practice.

Along with other National Boards, the Board has decided to introduce links to public tribunal decisions when serious allegations have been proven, in the interests of transparency and on the recommendation of the Independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia.

No information about the notifications received by the National Boards and AHPRA will be published. The change is simply helping to make already publicly available information easier to find.

Further information is available on AHPRA’s website.

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AHPRA and National Boards welcome release of the Accreditation Systems Review final report

AHPRA and the National Boards have welcomed the publication of the Independent Accreditation Systems Review final report.
The Independent Accreditation Systems Review’s (the Review) final report makes significant, far-reaching recommendations to reform the accreditation system for regulated health professions in Australia. It proposes recommendations which range from relatively uncontentious and which the National Scheme bodies generally support, to those which are significantly more complex and contentious.

Health Ministers commissioned the Review following a review of the National Scheme as a whole.

For more information read the statement on the AHPRA website.

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AHPRA to conduct pilot audit of advertising compliance in early 2019

A pilot audit to check health practitioner compliance with advertising requirements will be conducted by AHPRA in early 2019.

The pilot audit has been modelled on the well-established approach to auditing compliance with core registration standards and involves adding an extra declaration about advertising compliance for two professions when applying for renewal of registration in 2018. (The National Law1 enables a National Board to require any other reasonable information2 to be included with a renewal application.)

The National Boards for chiropractic and dental are taking part in the pilot audit.

When applying to renew their registration, chiropractors and dental practitioners will be required to complete a declaration about their advertising compliance. The pilot audit will not delay a decision on the application for renewal.

Random audits of advertising compliance will advance a risk-based approach to enforcing the National Law’s advertising requirements and facilitate compliance by all registered health practitioners who advertise their services.

Regulatory Operations Executive Director Kym Ayscough said the audit for advertising compliance would provide opportunities to extend the current action under the Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy launched in April 2017.

‘This pilot audit will potentially improve compliance with advertising obligations across the entire registrant population, not just those who have had an advertising complaint,’ Ms Ayscough said.

‘It will also provide opportunites to become more proactive in preventing non-compliant advertising by registered health practitioners.’

The audit will be carried out by AHPRA’s Advertising Compliance Team from January 2019 and will involve a random sample of chiropractors and dental practitioners who renewed their registration in 2018.

‘One of the audit’s main objectives is to analyse the rate of advertising compliance for those practitioners who advertise and who have not been the subject of an advertising complaint in the past 12 months,’ Ms Ayscough said.

Other objectives of the audit are:

  • to inform the evaluation of the compliance and enforcement strategy
  • establish the rate of advertising compliance within the professions, and
  • address any non-compliance with advertising obligations identified during the audit.

A pilot audit report addressing the above objectives and including data analysis and recommendations will be prepared for National Boards to consider the pilot outcomes and implications for future compliance work.

For information about your advertising obligations see AHPRA’s advertising resources page.

1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

2Section 107(4)(e) of the National Law.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit the Board’s website for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9275 9009 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Kim Gibson, Chair, Physiotherapy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 27/05/2022