AHPRA and the National Boards’ annual report reveals a marked increase in the number of chiropractic students in 2016/17

15 Nov 2017

The chiropractic health workforce grew by 2.3% over the past year, to 5,284 total registrants, according to data released today in the 2016/17 annual report published by AHPRA and the National Boards.

The annual report is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) for the 12 months to 30 June 2017.

While chiropractors constitute less than 1% of the 678,983 registrants currently in the National Scheme, the profession continues to grow, with 1,614 students enrolling in approved programs of study in 2016/17 (up 30.2% from 2015/16).

‘The increase in student numbers reflects a growing interest in the profession,’ said Dr Wayne Minter AM, Chair of the Chiropractic Board of Australia. ‘One of our key focuses is to provide as much information as possible to chiropractors, chiropractic students and the public to ensure that everyone is equipped with the knowledge of what to expect from chiropractic services.’

Misleading and deceptive advertising continued to be an issue for the profession in 2016/17. The Board maintained its strong position, and engaged closely with stakeholders on this issue. Working closely with AHPRA, the Board developed helpful resources to assist chiropractors in better understanding what is, and is not, allowed.

‘The vast majority of chiropractors practise safely and responsibly,’ continued Mr Minter AM. ‘It is our main priority to ensure only those chiropractors who are suitably qualified can practise, and that any claims they make in their advertising are evidence-based. We continue to take a hard line on those who do not comply with advertising requirements under the National Law to ensure the profession is respected.’

A snapshot of the profession

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions – with over 98.5% of all registrants renewing online and on time (97.7% of chiropractors renewed online).
  • Increased registration year on year: While chiropractors made up just 0.8% of all health practitioners registered nationally, the total registrant base continues to gradually grow (to 5,284 individual registered practitioners in 2016/17; up from 5,167 in 2015/16).
  • More students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 1,614 chiropractic students, representing an increase of 14.9% from 2015/16 (1,318 students).
  • Complaints received about chiropractors: 103 notifications were received by AHPRA nationally, representing 3.1% of the chiropractic profession.
  • Of 88 matters closed, in 2016/17: 14.8% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on the practitioners’ registration, 26.1% resulted in a caution or reprimand, and 52.3% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offences by chiropractors: 162 new complaints were made this year relating to possible statutory offences by chiropractors. The overwhelming majority (153) related to advertising breaches. AHPRA and the Board closed 192 statutory offence matters throughout the year.
  • AHPRA and the Board successfully took strong action against a number of chiropractors during the year, seeing the successful prosecution of two individuals who falsely used protected titles. In a landmark ruling, NSW man Hance Limboro was convicted of false advertising and unlawful use of testimonials and fined almost $30,000.
  • Immediate action was taken 14 times to restrict or suspend the registration of practitioners as an interim measure to protect the public while a notification was being investigated.
  • Active monitoring cases in 2016/17: 49 chiropractors were monitored during the year. Almost half of these (24) were monitored for suitability/eligibility for registration in the profession; six were prohibited practitioners/students (monitored to ensure they remained non-practising); 10 were monitored for performance; seven on the grounds of conduct; and two for health reasons.

The 2016/17 annual report provides a nationwide snapshot of the work of AHPRA and the Boards and highlights a multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation, with a clear focus on ensuring that the public are protected.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registrations, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, visit the Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory will be published in December.

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Page reviewed 15/11/2017