Physiotherapy Board of Australia - October 2022

October 2022

Issue 31 - October 2022 


From the Chair

Kim Gibson, Physiotherapy Board Chair

As the end of 2022 is fast approaching, the Board has been focused getting back to business as usual after the COVID-19 disruptions of the past few years. On 20 July a small group of stakeholders met with us to further discuss non-medical prescribing and how this relates to physiotherapy. We are summarising the outcomes of this forum and will share these with the profession.

The Board acknowledges the ongoing workforce issues within the profession and healthcare generally. Ahpra and the National Boards are committed to prioritising strategies to focus on this. We understand that it has been a challenging time and hope that you are taking care of yourselves and your colleagues.

We are now in the registration renewal period, so please keep us up to date on your personal details so that this process can occur as smoothly as possible.

Kim Gibson
Chair, Physiotherapy Board of Australia


Priority news

Cosmetic surgery complaints hotline now open

Patients who have been harmed by cosmetic surgery can now report their concerns to a hotline. The hotline is part of the response by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia to the Independent review into the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.

Key points

  • A hotline for cosmetic surgery complaints is now open on 1300 361 041. It will be operated during business hours by a specialised team within Ahpra.
  • The hotline will make it safer for patients too scared to otherwise report harm. They can do that confidentially if they choose.
  • It will also make it easier for practitioners to make mandatory or voluntary notifications as required when they know about significantly unsafe practice.
  • It is one of the actions Ahpra and the Medical Board committed to following the release of the independent review into cosmetic surgery’s report on 1 September.

The specialised team is supporting the newly established Cosmetic Surgery Enforcement Unit. This team understands the challenges for patients who are unsure about whether to report their experiences and where to report their experiences. The team can help them to share relevant information and guide them through the process.

Read more in the news item.

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Board news

Revised Code of conduct now in effect

The revised Code of conduct for physiotherapists came into effect on 29 June. The code gives important guidance to practitioners about the Board’s expectations and the standard of conduct the public can expect from physiotherapists. Revising the code included extensive consultation, which helped to create a more useful, accessible and contemporary document for both practitioners and the public.

We’ve included the National Scheme’s definition of cultural safety in the revised code as well as guidance on how you can ensure culturally safe and respectful practice. This inclusion highlights the important role you have in achieving equity in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians to close the gap.

The revised code also includes guidance about performance targets and similar business practices.

To ensure patient safety isn’t compromised, any performance targets or similar practices must be consistent with the Code of conduct. This is now clearly spelled out in the code.

Resources to help you understand the Code of conduct

To support you in understanding and applying the code, National Boards have developed additional resources. These include a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and case studies which look at how the code could be applied in practice scenarios. National Boards have also developed a Code of conduct principles document, a one-page summary of the code, and encourage you to print a copy and place it somewhere visible. You can find these resources on the Resources to help health practitioners web page.

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Board announces fees for 2022/23

The Physiotherapy Board of Australia and Ahpra have announced an increase in the annual registration fee for practitioners for 2022/23.

The registration fee for physiotherapists rose 18 per cent to $180 when registration opened on 22 September.

This will cover the registration period from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023.

The Physiotherapy Board and 14 other National Boards operate on a cost-recovery basis, with registration fees used to meet the costs of regulating the professions they oversee.

The National Boards work closely with Ahpra to keep fees as low as possible while continuing to meet regulatory obligations and the expectations of the public and practitioners.

This year’s above-indexation cost increase for physiotherapy is a one-off correction and it reflects the costs and equity required to sustain the regulation of physiotherapists in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. Fees for physiotherapy remain the second lowest of all registration fees for health practitioners under the National Scheme.

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Graduates – apply for registration now!

Physiotherapy graduates set to complete their course in the next three months can take the first step in their new career by applying for registration now. Applying before you finish your studies means we can start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

Registration with the Board is required before you can start work – and means you can work anywhere in Australia.

You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website. On that page, you can watch our video, Applying for graduate registration, and check out the accompanying flyer, Quick guide: how to apply.

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Celebrating World Physiotherapy Day with Taking care podcast

In this episode of Taking care, we explore the broad and varied work of physiotherapists in different settings and learns about innovations in remote and self-managed care. As we celebrated World Physiotherapy Day on 8 September, our guests also discuss the flow-on benefits of preventive care for the wider health system.

  • Professor Kim Bennell, Director of the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine at the University of Melbourne, said physiotherapists had an important role to play in educating and empowering patients to improve their lives.
  • Cherie Hearn is a member of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia and Director of Physiotherapy at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. She said physiotherapists were playing an increasing role in preventive healthcare and chronic disease management, including by creating technology to help patients self-manage their conditions.
  • Dr Rachel Nelligan is a clinical physiotherapist and research fellow at the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine. She said physiotherapy could improve patients’ general health and wellbeing.

Read more in the news item, and listen to the full episode on the Podcasts page.

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Registration news

Practitioners opt in to extend their registration on the pandemic sub-register

A total of 1,792 practitioners opted in to remain registered on the pandemic sub-register for another year, continuing to support the health system. These include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists who have opted to extend their registration on the sub-register to 21 September 2023 or apply to transition to the main register for ongoing registration.

Practitioners who were on the sub-register and did not contact Ahpra are no longer registered as of midnight on 21 September 2022. The names of these practitioners were removed from the sub-register; if they wish to continue to be registered, they will need to apply for registration through the standard process.

For more information go to:

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Latest workforce data released

The Board’s quarterly registration data to 30 June 2022 is published on its website. At this date, there were 40,018 registered physiotherapists (including 316 on the pandemic response sub-register). Read the latest report on our Statistics page.

Extension of temporary acceptance of additional English language tests for registration applicants

National Boards are accepting the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition test for applications received until 21 February 2023.

COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have disrupted many English language tests and made it difficult for some applicants to use the English language test pathway to meet National Boards English language skills registration standards.

In response, earlier this year the National Boards established a temporary policy accepting the following additional language tests for a limited time:

  • the OET computer-based test and the OET@home test for applications received until 21 February 2023, and
  • the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition for applications received until 1 June 2022.

National Boards have now updated this temporary policy which means that, along with the OET computer based and OET@home tests, the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition will also be accepted, for applications received until 21 February 2023.

All other requirements set out in the National Boards English language skills registration standards still apply. There are no changes to any other requirements in the standards, including minimum test scores.

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What’s new?

New Resources hub makes finding information easy

A new hub on the Ahpra website makes it easier to find helpful resources.

The Resources hub aims to support professional practice and help patients make safer health choices.

The hub includes information on requirements for advertising, social media, cosmetics, supervised practice and more. Information for practitioners and the public is clustered according to useful topics, to make it easier to find.

Latest podcasts – listen up!

Our Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. We also publish transcripts of our podcasts. Recent episodes include:

  • the inextricable link between climate change and healthcare
  • the unique world of rural and remote healthcare
  • accessing safe healthcare when cost is an issue
  • two conversations about caring for the LGBTIQA+ community, from the perspectives of patients and of practitioners
  • safe healthcare for people experiencing homelessness
  • safe healthcare for refugee and asylum seeker communities
  • openness and candour – a road to greater patient safety.

You can access these on the Ahpra website or listen and subscribe on SpotifyApple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.

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National Scheme news

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Want more information?

  • Visit the Board’s website for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQs.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (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 5/10/2022