On behalf of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the National Board), welcome to the October issue of our newsletter. Our aim is to provide you with current information and advice relevant to the practice of physiotherapy in Australia in line with the National Law1.
There are two main highlights this month.
On 29 July 2013, the National Board announced that registration fees for 2014 will be reduced by $20 to $179 for all physiotherapists. This is a direct result of the range of opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulation of physiotherapists provided by the National Law. The new fee applies from 1 August. The National Board will continue to review its approaches in the interests of nationally consistent and cost-effective regulation in the future.
The National Board is undertaking a request for tender process with the New Zealand Physiotherapy Board to develop bi-national entry-level qualifying statements for the physiotherapy profession. Among other things, this involves a review of the Australian Physiotherapy Council's Australian standards for physiotherapy (2006) and will lead to a related project to review accreditation requirements for Australian programs of physiotherapy study. We expect that the review will begin in October and is likely to conclude in late 2014.
The National Board publishes a range of information about registration and our expectations of physiotherapists on our website or the AHPRA website.
For more detail, or answers to questions about your registration, please send an online enquiry form or contact the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on 1300 419 495.
Chair, Physiotherapy Board of Australia
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The Registration standard for continuing professional development (CPD) is published on the National Board’s website.
Recent trends in registration renewals indicate that some registrants are not aware of the scope of activities that can be counted towards the required 20 hours of CPD for registered physiotherapists. The guidelines clarify this and provide examples.
A template for recording CPD activities and reflections is included in the guidelines, along with a sample CPD portfolio for reference.
Physiotherapists’ registration is due for renewal by 30 November 2013. We urge you to provide up-to-date email contact details to AHPRA so you don’t miss the reminders to renew.
Look out for your reminders to renew from AHPRA about six to eight weeks before annual renewal is due. They are confirmation that online renewal is open. If you do not want to renew your registration to keep practising you can simply ignore the reminders from AHPRA or go online to ‘opt out’ of renewing. Using the ‘opt out’ service puts a stop to renewal reminders.
Make sure you renew your registration on time. The quickest and easiest way to do this is online (89 per cent of physiotherapists used this secure service last year).
Renewal applications received by AHPRA after 30 November will incur an additional late fee. If you haven't renewed by one month after 30 November 2013, your registration will lapse. This means you must apply again for registration and will not be able to practise until your registration application has been finalised.
FAQ about renewal will be available on the Board website when you receive your reminder to renew.
The Board has analysed its registration data and produced a number of statistical breakdowns about registrants to share with the profession and the community. The latest quarterly data update has recently been published.
Table 1 shows there are 24,703 registered physiotherapists in Australia. The number of registered practitioners has risen by 201 since the last data update in March 2013 (published in our July newsletter).
Of this total, 713 are non-practising and 256 have some form of limited registration.
Table 2 shows the percentage of practitioners by age group. Physiotherapists aged 25-29 make up the single largest group at 20.61%, with practitioners aged 25-44 the largest proportion (62.06%) overall.
The data published by the Board also contain information on physiotherapists by gender by state and territory and by endorsement type by state and territory. At present, nine physiotherapists are endorsed for acupuncture, all in Victoria.
For further details, visit the About>Statistics section of the Board’s website.
AHPRA will call for online applications later this year from graduates who are in their final year of an approved program of study.
Physiotherapy students who will be completing studies at the end of 2013 are encouraged to apply for registration four to six weeks before completing their course. An email to individuals on the Student Register urging them to apply early and online will be sent by AHPRA on behalf of the National Board.
Applications can also be made by completing a paper application form. All applications, online or in hard copy, require students to post some supporting documents to AHPRA. Physiotherapy students are encouraged to read the information on AHPRA’s website under Graduate applications.
Graduates must meet the Board’s registration standards and need to be a registered physiotherapist before they can start practising. New graduates are registered and eligible to start working as soon as their name is published on the national register of practitioners.
The National Law requires practitioners to meet registration standards set by the Board, and to declare their compliance with these standards when they renew their registration each year.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has been working with some National Boards to develop a process to audit practitioner compliance with the registration standards for CPD, recency of practice, professional indemnity insurance and criminal history.
The Physiotherapy Board of Australia has approved a process to support the random audit of a sample of physiotherapists each year, as part of the Board’s ongoing responsibility to check that physiotherapists are complying with the registration standards (published on the Board’s website).
All practitioners selected for audit will be contacted by AHPRA in plenty of time and provided with information to assist and guide them in completing the audit.
The Professions Reference Group was set up in 2012. It is made up of representatives of the professional associations for the professions included in the National Scheme, including physiotherapy, with participation from AHPRA’s CEO and senior staff. Quarterly meetings provide an opportunity for AHPRA to brief the professions about its work and for the professions to ask questions about emerging issues relevant to regulation. The group also provides expert advice to AHPRA in developing a range of information for practitioners, such as the recently published notifications guide and fact sheets.
By working with the group, AHPRA has also been able to establish a practitioner consultative group, made up of individual practitioners nominated by their professional association who are willing to provide feedback on proposals and systems improvements, to inform change and improve services ahead of large-scale implementation.
Since implementation of the National Scheme, some practitioners have sought permission to reproduce AHPRA’s logo or their profession’s National Board logo on their business website.
AHPRA and the National Boards have a strict logo use policy and rarely grant permission for their logos to be used by third parties.
The roles of AHPRA and the National Boards in the National Scheme make it inappropriate for either party to endorse, or be perceived to be endorsing, individuals and organisations; their products or services.
Practitioners who have reproduced the AHPRA or a National Board logo on their business website should remove it and consider publishing a text link to www.ahpra.gov.au, advising that their registration to practise can be confirmed by checking the national register of practitioners.
1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).