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August 2023

Issue 32 - August 2023


From the Chair

Wayne Minter

Welcome to the Chiropractic Board of Australia’s newsletter!

In May we held a face-to-face information forum in Adelaide and we thank the chiropractors who attended for their robust discussion and contribution. We will continue to hold forums around Australia and will invite you by email when there is a forum coming up in your state or territory.

Now is the time to start thinking about your annual renewal obligations. It is a good time to ensure your continuing professional development portfolio is up to date. While renewal is an annual reminder, it’s important to remember that you have obligations throughout the year. We continue to see too many chiropractors failing to hold professional indemnity insurance. This is a serious oversight; please confirm that your policy is current – read more below

To help you to better understand and meet your health record management obligations, we have developed new health record management resources. Further information is provided in this newsletter.

In April, we farewelled Ms Kim Barker (community member) and we thank Kim for her valuable contribution and commitment during her time on the Board.

Dr Wayne Minter AM
Chiropractor
Chair, Chiropractic Board of Australia 

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Priority news

Professional indemnity insurance – make sure you’re covered!

The Board reminds all chiropractors to check your professional indemnity insurance (PII) policies and ensure that you have appropriate PII to practise as a chiropractor throughout the registration period.

Chiropractors are required to hold appropriate PII to practise – it’s a requirement of the National Law and an important part of keeping the public safe

Not holding PII can be considered professional misconduct and in some cases can lead to a disciplinary tribunal, which could affect your registration and ability to practise. A recent example is detailed in this newsletter.

Registration renewal is coming up in November and you’ll need to declare you hold PII

Before you make this declaration, the Board suggests the following:

  • Check your PII coverage – is it current? Is it at an appropriate level?
  • If you have staff who are chiropractors, make sure they’re covered.
  • Set yourself a reminder for when your policy is due to be renewed.
  • If you’re a graduate, get your PII sorted out before you start practising.

What if you find you’re not appropriately covered?

  • Stop practising immediately.
  • Notify Ahpra. You must do this within seven days using the Notice of certain events form: Form - NOCE-00 - Notice of Certain Events.

Note that if you have a gap in PII and fail to notify Ahpra at the time but instead declare the gap later, you will have failed to comply with your obligations under the National Law.

If you’ve changed your credit card or bank details, or your contact details such as email address or phone number, check in with your provider to make sure your details with them are up to date.

Remember to keep your PII certificate of currency.

If you are uncertain about the PII you need, seek professional advice from an insurance broker or legal advisor.

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Consultations

Have your say on the criminal history standard for registered health practitioners

When is criminal history incompatible with healthcare practice? What risks are acceptable – and manageable – when it comes to public safety?

From traffic offences at one end, to murder and serious sexual assault at the other, there is a spectrum of seriousness when it comes to criminal offences.

The Board decides case by case whether to grant someone registration as a chiropractor or allow them to return to practice, based on their criminal history and other relevant matters. This process is the same for every registered profession.

As the National Boards and Ahpra review the criminal history registration standard, we’re keen to know what the professions and the community expect when an applicant or practitioner has a criminal history.

We are reviewing the criminal history registration standard to make sure it is up to date and relevant. This work is part of our blueprint for reform to strengthen public safety in health regulation, which has a focus on sexual misconduct in healthcare.

Tell us what you think about the current version of the criminal history standard and other work to improve public safety in health regulation.

Your feedback will shape our thinking. There’ll be another opportunity to comment when we consult on changes to the registration standard down the track.

Visit the Ahpra Consultations page for more information about the review and how to make a submission. The consultation closes on 14 September 2023.

Consultation on possible further changes to English language skills requirements

The National Boards and Ahpra are inviting stakeholders to have their say on two possible further changes to the National Boards’ English language skills requirements.

This follows broad support from stakeholders for proposed revised English language skills registration standards (the ELS standards) during a public consultation from 13 July to 7 September 2022 by Ahpra and all National Boards (except the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia).

This consultation is not inviting further feedback on the changes to the ELS standards already consulted on. We now want to hear your views on two possible further changes to the English language skills requirements: expanding the range of recognised countries and a change to one element of the English test results accepted by National Boards.

These two possible changes are recommendations in the Independent review of overseas health practitioner regulatory settings - interim report (the Kruk review), which was endorsed by the National Cabinet in April 2023.

The consultation closes on 13 September 2023. More information is on our Consultations page.


Board news

New resources aim to support practitioners to manage health records

To help chiropractors better understand and meet their health record management obligations, the Board has developed two new health record management resources:

  • Managing health records – Summary of obligations brings all the guidance on record keeping and management from the shared Code of conduct into a single document.
  • Managing health records – Self-reflective tool is designed to help you reflect on the adequacy of your record keeping and management processes. The interactive tool aims to help you assess how you manage your health records and to identify opportunities for improvement.

The Board’s expectations about health records are outlined in the Code of conduct. You must also consider state, territory or Commonwealth legislation about health records and privacy that may apply.

Visit Ahpra’s Resources page to view and download the new resources, along with several other resources covering a range of topics to support your practice.

Easy English information about the shared Code of conduct is now available

New Easy English information about the shared Code of conduct is now available. This easier to understand information will help people in the community who find it hard to read and understand English know what standards of conduct they can expect from a chiropractor.

The shared Code of conduct applies to chiropractors and was updated last year to improve patient safety. As well as being a guiding document for health practitioners, the code is an important document for the public. The code outlines what the public can expect when they see a registered chiropractor, including information about respect, culturally safe care, privacy and confidentiality, and communication.

The new Easy English information is on the Board’s website along with other resources for the public. There are also resources to help practitioners understand and apply the code, including FAQs and case studies.

Get to know your Board: Ken Riddiford, community member from Queensland

Ken Riddiford, community member, was appointed to the Chiropractic Board of Australia in December 2021. We spoke to Ken about his background, his role as a community member and his vision for community members’ input into the National Scheme.

Ken Riddiford, ChiroBA

What is your background?

I am a proud Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri nation. My background is in education, where I worked for over 18 years before moving into consulting, mainly focused on First Nations not-for-profit governance. My work has spanned the Torres Strait to the mainland and crosses many areas, from work for the Stolen Generation in the Kimberley through to teaching governance with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Working in the Kimberley is very rewarding not only because I work with the oldest generation of the Stolen Generation, which is very exciting, but because I have been involved in helping the organisation redefine its purpose as that generation ages. The transgenerational impact of the trauma experienced by the Stolen Generation has become increasingly evident. We now see the younger generation needing support after having lived with and witnessed the trauma of the Stolen Generation.

What attracted you to the role of community member on the Board?

For a time, I was a director on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trust and, having enjoyed that experience, when I saw this role come up, I applied. I wasn’t really expecting anything to come of it. But I was very pleasantly surprised, also a bit anxious, to be appointed to the Chiropractic Board. The support I received from the Statutory Appointments team was invaluable and helped me get started and feel confident about what would happen following my appointment.

Governance is what links my work with my position on the Board, and I’ve enjoyed learning about the similarities and differences between governance in the not-for-profit sector and governance within the National Scheme.

What does it mean to be a community member? What role do you play, and what is your vision for community members in the National Scheme?

During my first two years I’ve sat back, watched, and listened to the practitioner members and seen that there’s a role for practitioners and a role for community members. The community expectation is that practitioners take care of patients in a way that community is comfortable with, and we bring that perspective to issues, advice and decision making.

So, when we’re in session, as community members we ask questions about what this means for community, how does this feel for the community, and give advice.

What Board roles and functions are you passionate about?

I have a role on the committee that looks at notifications. I quickly learned how important it is to do your homework so you can contribute in a meaningful way and keep community expectations front of mind. There’s a great benefit in having community members on the Board to keep practice in perspective.

What role does the National Scheme’s Cultural Safety Strategy play in achieving equitable health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples?

The Cultural Safety Strategy is crucial to achieving positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. However, in the current climate there is a lot of white noise out there trying to overthrow efforts like those made by Ahpra and the National Boards to understand cultural safety and the importance of adhering to cultural practices in healthcare services. I am fortunate to sit on a good, professional board with respectful members who are keen to take advice on cultural matters.


Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board has published its latest quarterly report on the chiropractic workforce, covering 1 April to 30 June 2023. At this date, there were 6,345 registered chiropractors, including 419 with non-practising registration.

For more data, including registration by principal place of practice, age and gender, visit our Statistics page to read the report.


Regulation at work

Chiropractor reprimanded and suspended for two months for failing to hold insurance

A Victorian chiropractor who falsely declared she had professional indemnity insurance and practised without it for four years has been reprimanded for professional misconduct and suspended for two months. Read more in the news item.


What’s new?

Public protection is the focus of new National Law reforms

Public protection is at the forefront in the latest round of reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. The changes started on 15 May, in all states and territories except Western Australia (where the changes will be introduced later).

Better protecting the public from serious risk

One significant change gives Ahpra and the National Boards a new power to issue a public statement to warn the public about a serious risk from an individual – either a registered health practitioner or a person who does not hold registration but is providing a health service. Issuing a public statement means we can warn the public about a serious risk at an early stage, while we continue to investigate. There is a high threshold that must be met to use the power, which we anticipate will be used sparingly and only in exceptional cases to better protect the public.

Read more in the public statements warnings FAQs.

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme

Other changes will help us improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme and help create a fairer system. These changes include:

  • an update to our complaints process which introduces the ability to compel practitioners to provide information at an earlier point in the assessment process. This will mean we can deal with complaints more efficiently and improve the experience for both the notifier and the practitioner
  • more suitable options for National Boards to respond to practitioners who continue to practise after their registration has lapsed, and
  • improved information-sharing abilities for National Boards with relevant parties such as registered practitioners’ former employers, when necessary to alert them to potential harm to the public.

More information

Some of the changes do not apply in NSW, because of differences in how concerns are managed in that state. For example, the power to issue a public statement and the power to require information at an earlier point in the assessment process are already held by the Health Care Complaints Commission. Read more about the NSW regulators.

The changes are the latest in a wide range of reforms outlined in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022, which came into law last October.

For more information, read the news item and see the resources on the Ahpra National Law amendments webpage.

Public safer with Ahpra’s 100th criminal prosecution

From fake physiotherapists working in aged care homes, to unqualified dentists removing teeth, Ahpra has now completed 100 criminal prosecutions to protect the public.

Ahpra’s first criminal prosecution was finalised in January 2014 when a West Australian woman was sentenced to a $20,000 fine for claiming to be a registered psychologist. Since then, Ahpra has prosecuted matters throughout Australia with the most in Victoria and NSW.

‘Holding out’ cases, where someone is pretending to be registered when they are not, dominated the prosecution list. The 100th case involved a man holding out as a registered pharmacist.

For more information, read the news item.

New support team to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners with their registration

Ahpra has recently established a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Support team to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, registrants and stakeholders through the registration process. The support team is part of Ahpra’s commitments to provide culturally safe services to its applicants, registrants and stakeholders.

Who is it for?

The support team will focus on helping recent applicants and new graduates who have identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander on their application form. This applies to applicants across all 16 registered professions in the National Scheme.

The team’s one-on-one services range from providing helpful tips and tricks for navigating the registration process to regular phone contact, updates and advice on disclosures made on application (for example, impairments or previous criminal history) that may require consideration by the National Board.

What to expect?

The support team is committed to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners in all professions get registered or renewed promptly so they can focus on their contributions to safe healthcare and to their communities. Keep an eye out for regular emails from the team or reach out for help at [email protected].

Members of the team will be attending community events and health practitioner conferences.

If you are a student, contact your Indigenous Student Support unit at your tertiary provider for information.


National Scheme news

Click on the image below to visit our National Scheme newsletter page.

National Scheme news banner graphic 


Want more information?

  • 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.
 
 
 
Page reviewed 28/11/2023