August 2018

Issue 18 - August 2018


Message from the Chair

Wayne Minter

Welcome to the Chiropractic Board of Australia (the Board) newsletter.

This year the Board reinforced its commitment to building better relationships with our stakeholders. Recently we completed a review of the feedback received during the public consultation on the draft revised registration standard and guidelines for continuing professional development (CPD). We valued the comments sent by many stakeholders, including professional associations and a significant cohort of chiropractors, and these played an important role in contributing to the final draft of the revised standard, which will be submitted to Health Ministers for consideration. You can read more about this in the newsletter.

As mentioned in our previous newsletter, another very important project for the Board in 2018 is the education forum held in Melbourne on 28 and 29 July. The forum explored existing research on workplace-based learning and related concepts with a focus on applying this work in the context of solo and small health-professional practice. Over seventy delegates attended the forum and for those unable to attend, we have recorded the forum for publication on our website. We will include further details in the next newsletter.

I receive many comments throughout the year about the work that we do. Thank you especially to all the chiropractors who contacted us with feedback on our newsletters. We are always pleased to hear from you and are grateful for the time you take to let us know your views.

Dr Wayne Minter AM
Chiropractor
Chair, Chiropractic Board of Australia

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News from the Board

Practitioner audit underway

As a registered chiropractor you may be selected at random for audit. Audits are an important part of the way the Chiropractic Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) can better protect the public. They help to ensure that practitioners are meeting the mandatory registration standards and provide important assurance to the community.

If you are selected for audit, you will receive an audit notice in the mail from AHPRA. It includes a checklist that outlines what supporting documents are required to demonstrate that you meet the standard(s) being audited.

If selected, please access the Board’s website. It provides comprehensive information about the audit process, including guidance on the audit notice and what it means for you, as well as contact details for the audit team and AHPRA’s Customer Service Team who can help with your queries.

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Testimonials in health advertising — a tool to help get it right

Advertising about a regulated health service is in breach of the National Law if it includes a testimonial (review, experience, comment and/or statement) that mentions a clinical aspect.

A new tool to help practitioners and advertisers understand their obligations about using testimonials and reviews to advertise regulated health services is now available.

The testimonial tool is the latest in a series of resources and support materials developed by AHPRA and National Boards to help health practitioners, healthcare providers and other advertisers of regulated health services check and correct their advertising so it complies with the National Law.

The tool includes information and flow charts to help practitioners and advertisers understand why testimonials are not allowed and which reviews or feedback can be used in advertising.

The testimonial tool is now available in the Advertising resources section of the AHPRA website.

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Revised CPD standard and guidelines

In May 2018, the Board released a public consultation paper seeking feedback on the revised draft CPD registration standard and guidelines. The revised standard was informed by research and benchmarking that was published alongside the consultation documents and is still available for download.

Response to the public consultation from stakeholders and the broader chiropractic community was outstanding, with a broad range of perspectives and insights being offered by the professional associations, accreditation bodies, CPD providers, government and individual practitioners.

A common theme that emerged from the consultation submissions was that chiropractors will need to be provided with clear information and guidelines to help them understand their obligations under the revised standard. This feedback has been welcomed by the Board and will be used to inform planning for implementation in due course.

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National Scheme news

New research framework launched to improve patient safety

In January, National Boards and AHPRA published a research framework to help transform health practitioner regulation to improve patient safety.

A research framework for the National Scheme: Optimising our investment in research sets out the research priorities and principles for National Boards and AHPRA to focus their research efforts.

The framework includes the priority research areas of: defining harms and risks related to the practice of regulated health professions, regulatory taxonomy or classification scheme, risk factors for complaints and/or poor practitioner performance, evidence for standards, codes and/or guidelines, evaluating regulatory interventions, stakeholder satisfaction and engagement, work readiness and workforce capacity and distribution.

It has been published to provide a solid base to facilitate risk-based research and evaluation activities, with a clear focus on translating the outcomes of research into initiatives that will inform regulatory policy development and decision-making to maximise the public benefit.

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Vexing not vexatious: research finds more risk in not reporting

New independent research commissioned by AHPRA has looked internationally at vexatious complaints, finding these are very rare and that there is more risk from people not reporting concerns than from making complaints in bad faith.

The report found that the number of vexatious complaints dealt with in Australia and internationally is very small, less than one per cent, but they have a big effect on everyone involved. The research also confirms that the risk of someone not reporting their concerns is greater than if the complaint turns out to be vexatious.

Most of Australia’s 700,000 registered health practitioners provide great care, but patients also have the right to make a complaint when things don’t go so well.

The best available evidence suggests that truly vexatious complaints are very rare, and that under-reporting of well-founded concerns is likely a far greater problem.

There is a common misconception that a complaint must have been vexatious if it resulted in no regulatory action. However, a decision by a National Board not to take regulatory action does not mean that the complaint was unfounded or made in bad faith. For example, a risk to the public may have been adequately addressed between the time the complaint was made and when the investigation concluded.

The report will be used to inform best practice for reducing, identifying, and managing vexatious complaints and helps to identify opportunities to work with others to help reduce their frequency and adverse consequences.

The report is available on the AHPRA website under Published research.

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700,00th health practitioner registered

AHPRA and the National Boards have welcomed the 700,000th health practitioner to be registered in Australia since the start of national regulation in 2010, Victoria-based enrolled nurse Alison Tregeagle.

Ms Tregeagle graduated in March 2018 as a mature-aged nursing graduate. Her registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia was confirmed and published this month on the national Register of practitioners. While Alison was studying for her Diploma in Nursing, she was working in part-time and casual jobs at an aged care facility, a hospital and a pharmacy and is excited about embarking on her new career as an enrolled nurse.

Reaching the 700,000th registered practitioner milestone comes almost eight years after the launch of the National Scheme on 1 July 2010, when AHPRA and the National Boards for 10 health professions began their regulatory partnership governed by a nationally consistent National Law.

In 2010, the registration of over half a million health practitioners transferred to the new National Scheme1, with a further four health professions joining in 2012 and growing the number of registered health practitioners to more than 590,000 for the year to 30 June 2013. This year the number will grow further as paramedics join the National Scheme in late 2018.

AHPRA’s first annual report showed there were slightly more than 530,000 registered health practitioners across Australia as at 30 June 2011 so hitting 700,000 represents significant growth over that time. It demonstrates that regulation is enabling the growth and mobility of a registered health workforce to support the delivery of health services to Australians.


1. The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

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AHPRA designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for health workforce regulation across the Western Pacific

AHPRA’s commitment to best practice and learning from others has received a boost, with an official designation from the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Collaborating Centre for health workforce regulation. This designation means that AHPRA, in partnership with National Boards, will work with WHO and its Member States in the Western Pacific to strengthen regulatory practice across the region.

Crucial to the work of the Collaborating Centre is establishing a network of regulators across South East Asia and the Western Pacific. The network is expected to work on improving regulatory standards.

The designation as a Collaboration Centre is timely, with the Australian Government Department of Health and WHO recently beginning a four-year Cooperation Strategy. Strengthening regulation in health services, health workforce, radiation, food safety and health products is an identified priority for the joint work in this Cooperation Strategy. You can access the Cooperation Strategy on WHO’s information-sharing site. Queries about AHPRA’s work as a Collaboration Centre can be directed to WHO_CC_HWR@ahpra.gov.au.

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Closing the gap by 2031: a shared commitment

In conjunction with NAIDOC Week in Victoria, AHPRA and the National Boards launched a landmark commitment to help achieve equity in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians to close the gap by 2031.

Launched at Melbourne Museum on Thursday 5 July, the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme Statement of Intent is a joint commitment between 37 health organisations, including leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations and entities, AHPRA, all National Boards and all accreditation authorities.

Leaders in health including Associate Professor Gregory Phillips (CEO, ABSTARR Consulting), Dr Joanna Flynn (Chair, Medical Board of Australia), Janine Mohamed (CEO, CATSINaM), Michael Gorton (Chair, Agency Management Committee (AHPRA)) and Narelle Mills (CEO, Australian Dental Council) spoke about the importance of this work.

Our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was also launched with support from Reconciliation Australia. The RAP is an important document outlining what we, AHPRA, will do to start addressing the imbalance in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians.

Photo of Greg Phillips and Jo Flynn
Associate Professor Gregory Phillips and Dr Joanna Flynn at the Statement of Intent launch

NAIDOC 2018: Because of her, we can!

To mark this momentous occasion in honour of the traditional owners of the land, Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Di Kerr performed a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony in the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre’s Milarri Garden.

This special ceremony was performed in parallel with the Museum’s exhibition for NAIDOC 2018 in the Birrarung Gallery – ‘Because of her, we can!’, an exhibition celebrating the extraordinary achievements of nine First Peoples women.

About the Statement of Intent

The work to develop the Statement of Intent and its associated work is being led by the National Scheme Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group and coordinated by AHPRA on behalf of the National Scheme. It has been developed in close partnership with a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and experts.

The group shares a commitment to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have access to health services that are culturally safe and free from racism so that they can enjoy a healthy life, equal to that of other Australians, enriched by a strong living culture, dignity and justice.

To help achieve this, the group is focusing on:  

  • a culturally safe health workforce supported by nationally consistent standards, codes and guidelines across all professions in the National Scheme
  • using our leadership and influence to achieve reciprocal goals
  • increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ participation in the registered health workforce
  • greater access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to culturally safe services of health professions regulated under the National Scheme, and
  • increased participation across all levels of the National Scheme.

Want to find out more?

Visit the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy page of AHPRA's website for more information and access the Statement of Intent and RAP.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit our website for news about the profession and for registration standards, codes, guidelines, policies and fact sheets.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Dr Wayne Minter, Chair, Chiropractic Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 3/08/2018