Chiropractic Board of Australia - 2018/19 annual summary
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2018/19 annual summary

Chiropractic in 2018/19

Snapshot of the profession

  • 5,500 chiropractors
  • Up 2.4% from 2017/18
  • 0.7% of all registered health practitioners
  • 0.4% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 40.1% female; 59.9% male


Under 25 years old: 1.7%, 25-34 years old: 30.3%, 35-44 years old: 27.9%, 45-54 years old: 21.6%, 55-64 years old: 12.3%, 65-74 years old: 5.1%, Over 75 years old: 1.2%

Audit outcomes

Pie chart of Audit outcomes

  • 84.2% compliant: fully compliant with the registration standards
  • 7.9% compliant (education): compliant through education in one or more standards
  • 2.6% non-compliant: non-compliant with one or more standards
  • 5.3% no audit action required: during the audit period, practitioners changed their registration type to non-practising, elected to surrender their registration or failed to renew their registration

Regulating the profession

  • 85 notifications lodged with AHPRA1
  • Australia-wide, including Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) in NSW and Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in Queensland data, 134 registered chiropractors – or 2.4% – had notifications made about them
  • 95 notifications closed
    • 21.1% had conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted
    • 13.7% received a caution or reprimand
    • 2.1% registration suspended or cancelled
    • 8.4% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity (HCE)
    • 54.4% no further action taken
  • Immediate action taken 4 times
  • 7 mandatory notifications received
    • 4 about professional standards
  • 41 chiropractors monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year
  • 41 cases were being monitored at 30 June
    • 11 on grounds of conduct
    • 5 for health reasons
    • 9 for performance
    • 6 prohibited practitioner/student
    • 10 for suitability/eligibility for registration
  • 27 criminal offence complaints were made and 24 closed
    • 12 new matters related to title protection
    • 14 to advertising breaches
    • 1 to other offence
  • Matters decided by a tribunal: 2
  • Matters decided by a panel: 0
  • Decisions appealed: 2

1Unless stated otherwise, all notification data is AHPRA data.

Sources of notifications: 44.7% Patient, relative or member of the public; 14.1% Other practitioner; 11.8% HCE; 10.6% Government department; 7.1% Board’s own motion; 11.8% Other

Most common types of complaint: 44.7% Clinical care, 17.6% Boundary violation, 8.2% Breach of non-offence provision – National Law, 5.9% Criminal offence – National Law, 4.7% Documentation, 18.8% Other

A report of the year from the Chair

This past year the Chiropractic Board of Australia has engaged with the profession through many initiatives, including a stakeholder forum featuring continuing professional development, presentations throughout Australia on key issues relevant to chiropractic registration and regulation, and regular newsletters. We have also worked closely with the Chiropractic Council of NSW to ensure consistency in statistics.

Exploring workplace-based learning

The Board held a successful stakeholder forum focusing on workplace-based learning: from theory to practice, in Melbourne on 28 and 29 July 2018.

The forum included a mix of interactive presentations and small group activities encouraging participants to explore the application of best practice in workplace-based learning to a range of practice settings. Participants were able to build on their understanding of workplace-based learning principles and consider how these may be applied to their own small-group or solo practice. Opportunities to build peer-to-peer learning experiences into everyday practice as effective forms of continuing professional development were also explored in depth.

The forum was presented by Ryan Brydges (Professor of Technology-enabled Education at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada), Rose Hatala (Director of the Clinical Educator Fellowship at the Centre for Health Education Scholarship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada) and Liz Molloy (Professor of Work Integrated Learning in the Department of Medical Education, the University of Melbourne). Videos of the key presentations from the forum were published on the Board’s website.


In September 2018, the Board gave a presentation at the Australian Chiropractors’ Association Annual Conference in Hobart and presented to practitioners in Darwin. The Board also held a presentation in Sydney.

Interim policy on spinal manipulation

In March 2019 the Board set an interim policy on spinal manipulation for infants and young children while an independent review of the practice was carried out by Safer Care Victoria.

The policy – spinal manipulation for infants and young children outlined the Board’s expectation that chiropractors do not use spinal manipulation to treat children under two years of age, pending the recommendations arising from the review. The independent panel established by Safer Care Victoria included experts in paediatrics and musculoskeletal care, consumers, and representatives from the Chiropractic Board of Australia and Australian Chiropractors Association.

New accreditation funding agreement

In June 2019, a new accreditation funding agreement for a five-year term was signed by AHPRA on behalf of the Board, with the Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia. The agreement provides a contemporary framework for addressing key accreditation issues such as cultural safety, safety and quality, reducing regulatory burden, multi-profession collaboration to meet evolving healthcare needs, and strengthened accountability and transparency. The agreement also includes principles for funding and fee-setting, and new key performance indicators to track progress on priority issues.

Pilot advertising audit

The National Boards for Chiropractic and Dental took part in a pilot audit conducted by AHPRA to check health practitioner compliance with advertising requirements. The pilot audit was modelled on the well-established approach to auditing compliance with core registration standards and involved adding an extra declaration about advertising compliance when chiropractors and dental practitioners applied for renewal of registration. The pilot audit report will include data analysis and recommendations for future compliance work.

A pilot audit report will be prepared for National Boards to consider the outcomes and implications for future compliance work.

Dr Wayne Minter AM (chiropractor), Chair

Page reviewed 12/11/2020