Physiotherapy Board of Australia - Compliance

Compliance

Monitoring restrictions

Monitoring streams

  • Health
  • Performance
  • Conduct
  • Suitability/eligibility
  • Prohibited practitioner/student

We monitor restrictions and requirements that have been placed on practitioners to check that they are complying.

  • 4,650 cases related to 4,648 registered practitioners who were being actively monitored at 30 June
    • 1,467 cases (31.6%) were about conduct, health or performance
    • 2,734 cases (58.8%), the majority, were about suitability/eligibility for registration
    • 449 cases (9.7%) related to prohibited practitioners/students.
  • 3,516 practitioners were monitored by Ahpra to ensure health, performance and/or conduct requirements were being met during the year.

Additional guidance to practitioners

Some of the restrictions placed on practitioners require them to provide a report reflecting on the original issue that led to the condition or undertaking and how they would approach the same situation differently following the education or mentoring they were required to complete. We have published additional guidance, including an example approach, to help in practitioner reflection to help minimise unnecessary additional work by the practitioner. 

Compliments

One of our most onerous conditions is Urine Drug Screening, used to ensure that practitioners with historical health impairments are not taking restricted substances. Practitioners are required to present to a pathology collection centre on random days, up to 12 times per month, and provide a urine sample with someone watching. It is always great to receive positive feedback from practitioners, and even more pleasing when someone subject to onerous requirements has something nice to say about our staff:

The case officer has connected with me on many occasions with regular updates, just to ‘check in’ and is there when difficult news has to be delivered. She has made herself accessible and available to my prospective employers, assisted with the mountain of forms and given support wherever it’s required. So, I basically want to express not only my gratitude and appreciation to the case officer for her dedication as a compliance officer, but I want it brought to the attention of her superior to alert them to what an amazing and outstanding job she is doing.

Reviewing our performance

Two performance and quality assurance reviews were carried out:

  1. Recording regulatory action arising from a monitoring case – we evaluated how staff were recording information on key decisions made about monitored cases. The review found that the policy and procedure was not as clear as it could be and that staff were required to record some information that was unnecessary. Policies have been updated and additional staff training completed.
  2. Use of delegations and authorisations – we evaluated the use of delegations and authorisations that permit specified Ahpra staff to make certain decisions on behalf of the National Boards. The review identified that the majority of decisions made were consistent with procedures and identified opportunities to improve reporting to National Boards. The report also identified efficiencies and faster decision-making when delegations and authorisations were used.

Restrictions most often placed on practitioners

The top 10 restriction categories by volume being monitored by Ahpra at 30 June equate to 6,702 restrictions. Although 4,650 cases were being actively monitored, each case may have more than one restriction category requiring compliance by the practitioner.

69.8% (4,679) of restrictions in the top 10 restriction categories were imposed as a result of the routine process of a health practitioner obtaining or renewing registration with a National Board.

30.2% (2,023) of the restrictions in the top 10 restriction categories were imposed as a result of a finding made by a National Board, panel or tribunal about a practitioner’s health, performance or conduct.

 

We received 386 advertising complaints. Of these:

  • 70 were complaints about corporate entities or unregistered persons, or assessed as serious-risk complaints
  • 316 were lower risk complaints about registered health practitioners and assessed under the Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy:
    • 157 were assessed as potential breaches (412 in 2019/20); the reduction of about 60% is unusual and may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • 152 cases had no breach identified
    • 7 are awaiting initial assessment.

When we identify that advertising by registered health practitioners is not compliant with the Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service, we initially provide practitioners with an opportunity to correct their advertising and only take further regulatory action when this is unsuccessful. There were no instances of continued non-compliant advertising that required regulatory action.

Proactive advertising strategy

We have historically relied on complaints to identify advertising that doesn’t meet our guidelines. We are now supplementing this approach with a proactive audit of advertising from a sample of practitioners in every profession. This approach is helping us understand the rates of advertising and common issues in each profession. We will be using this information to make further improvements to the dedicated advertising pages on our website and will engage with each profession through Board newsletters and professional associations. The overall objective is to identify issues and make it easy for practitioners to comply.

Sometimes practitioners don’t realise what they are not allowed to claim when they advertise. We provide information to help them.

Advertising

We reviewed the Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service and evaluated the Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy for the National Scheme. The revised guidelines and updated strategy took effect on 14 December. To support understanding and compliance with the advertising requirements, we redeveloped existing web resources to create an Advertising hub on our website.

 
 
 
Page reviewed 22/11/2021