Issue 22 - February 2020
Welcome to our first newsletter for 2020. We aim to keep you up to date with changes to standards and guidelines, public consultations, regulation and registration matters, Board projects and events. As always, we welcome your feedback.
The Board is delighted to announce that we will be starting information forums for chiropractors this month. Our focus is on providing you with important information about regulatory matters and giving you an opportunity to engage with the Board. For details, see the article in this newsletter.
The tragedies of the summer bushfires have taken an unprecedented toll on many communities. We would like to thank those chiropractors who volunteered and worked in challenging conditions to keep our communities safe and provide care and support.
Dr Wayne Minter AM
Chair, Chiropractic Board of Australia
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The Board will be holding information forums for chiropractors starting in February 2020.
We invite you to attend a forum to discuss regulation and encourage you to refer to the Board’s registration standards, codes and guidelines in your daily practice. The forums are free, but registration is essential as places are limited.
Topics discussed at the forum will include an update from the Board, continuing professional development, and advertising.
For those who can't attend in person, we will publish a recorded presentation on the Board’s website.
We will send invitations directly via email so you can register for the forums as registrations open.
The Board’s revised registration standard on continuing professional development (CPD) came into effect on 1 December 2019.
Every time you renew your registration you must declare you meet the standard.
The revised registration standard requires you to complete 20 hours of CPD each year. The ways in which you can meet the revised CPD standard are now more flexible. Formal learning activities are no longer required. Instead, you must develop learning goals, plan CPD activities to meet those goals and reflect on how you will improve your practice based on what you have learned.
The Board has developed additional guidance material to help you understand and meet the revised CPD standard. You can find more information including an updated FAQ and a template CPD portfolio on the Codes and guidelines webpage.
The revised CPD standard will be an important component of the information forums so we can assist you to understand the changes.
The Board encourages all chiropractors to understand their obligations as a registered health practitioner. Under the National Law, you have obligations that must be met in order to be registered and while practising. These include advertising in compliance with the National Law and notifying the Board of certain events.
Our goal is to ensure advertising about regulated health services is done responsibly in order to keep the public safe from false or misleading claims and to help them make informed choices about their healthcare.
Responsible advertising is a professional and legal obligation. Information on acceptable evidence in health advertising is available in the Advertising resources section of the Ahpra website.
It is a requirement of the National Law that all registered health practitioners must inform the Board within seven days of becoming aware of a relevant event or change in their status. This includes advising the Board of any charges for offences punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more, and any convictions or finding of guilt for offences punishable by imprisonment; or if your appropriate professional indemnity insurance arrangements are no longer in place. For further information refer to Notice of Certain Events - NOCE-00.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council considered The Report: Independent review chiropractic spinal manipulation of children under 12 prepared by Safer Care Victoria at its 31 October–1 November 2019 meeting. The COAG Health Council referred the findings and recommendations of the report to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) for further consideration and next steps.
The Board remains committed to ensuring the public has access to, and receives, safe, ethical and competent care from chiropractors. The Board expects you to comply with all registration standards, codes, guidelines and policies including the Interim policy on spinal manipulation for infants and young children, the guidance provided in the Statement on paediatric care (2017) and the Code of conduct for chiropractors (2014).
The Board will communicate with all chiropractors at the completion of the review process to advise you of the outcome and clarify any change in policy on spinal manipulation of infants and young children.
A profession-specific statistical summary and a report from the Chair that covers the work of the Chiropractic Board of Australia over the 12 months to 30 June 2019 is now available online.
The summary draws on data from the 2018/19 annual report of Ahpra and the National Boards.
The chiropractic summary provides a snapshot of the profession as at 30 June 2019, and includes the number of applications for registration, outcomes of practitioner audits and segmentation of the registrant base by gender and age.
Notifications information is also extensive and includes numbers, types and sources of complaints, mandatory notifications, criminal offence complaints and much more.
Profession-specific data tables are also available for downloading.
To gain an insight into the profession during 2018/19 and to access the data tables visit the Board’s 2018/19 summary.
The Board published its latest quarterly report in February covering workforce data from 1 October to 31 December 2019.
As at that date, there are 5,700 registered chiropractors, of whom 5,305 have general registration. Of the others, two have limited registration and 393 have non-practising registration.
The workforce consists of 2,299 (40.3%) female and 3,400 (59.6%) male practitioners.
For further information, including data breakdowns by principal place of practice and age, visit the Statistics page on our website.
On 1 July 2019, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) began operation in Victoria. The Board draws specific attention to section 8 of the Act, which states that a registered health practitioner who provides health services or professional care services to a person must not, in the course of providing those services to the person:
A breach of this requirement is deemed to be unprofessional conduct for the purposes of the National Law (s 8(3)). It is noted, however, that section 8 does not prevent a health practitioner providing information about voluntary assisted dying to a person at that person’s request (s 8(2)) (emphasis added).
We encourage Victorian health practitioners who have not already done so, to review the Act and familiarise themselves with its requirements.
If you need further information, we encourage you to contact your professional association or professional indemnity insurer. Information about the Act, published by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, is available on the DHHS website.
Ahpra and the National Boards have welcomed two new policy directions from the COAG Health Council which reinforce that Ahpra and National Boards are to prioritise public protection in the work of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme).
The two directions state that public protection is paramount and require consultation with patient safety and health care consumer bodies on any new and revised registration standards, codes and guidelines, as well as other considerations.
The first policy direction outlines the consideration that National Boards and Ahpra must give to the public (including vulnerable people in the community) when determining whether to take regulatory action about a health practitioner. It also authorises limited sharing of information with employers and state/territory health departments about serious matters involving the conduct of a registered health practitioner.
As the national regulators, it is Ahpra and the National Boards’ responsibility to protect the public and prevent harm. However, most health practitioners practise safely and well. In 2018/19 around 98 per cent of all registered practitioners did not have any concerns reported about their conduct, health or performance.
The second policy direction requires National Boards to consult with patient safety bodies and consumer bodies on registration standards, codes and guidelines when these are being developed or revised. It also provides that National Boards and Ahpra must:
In implementing these policy directions, Ahpra and National Boards will continue to ensure fairness for health practitioners in regulatory processes. The policy directions can be viewed on the Board's website.
The revised mandatory notifications guidelines are now available and will come into effect in March 2020.
The guidelines were revised by National Boards and Ahpra as part of a scheduled review and following amendments to the National Law.
The guidelines are relevant to all registered health practitioners and registered students in Australia. They aim to explain the mandatory notifications requirements in the National Law clearly so that practitioners, employers and education providers understand who must make a mandatory notification about a practitioner or student and when they must be made. They also aim to make it clearer when a notification does not need to be made.
Changes to the guidelines include:
Read the revised guidelines for practitioners and for students and the additional resources developed to help explain mandatory notifications.
Ahpra launched its podcast channel in 2019. ‘Taking care’ is a series of podcasts that highlight Ahpra and the National Boards’ commitment to public safety and the ongoing conversation about the work of health practitioner regulation in Australia.
‘Taking care’ features a broad range of conversations and interviews with experts from the community, health professions people from health, regulation and the broader community. Ahpra hosts an intentionally diverse list of guests to address myths and common questions about public safety in healthcare, to offer professional and consumer perspectives on current issues.
The latest podcast features award-winning author and medical researcher, Dr Kate Richards. In this episode, Kate discusses her experience as a trainee doctor and mental health patient. Kate also talks about challenges for young trainee doctors and the serious obstacles that patients can face in their effort to access good, safe and humane health care.
The podcast channel and the video series it follows provide opportunities for significant discussions about health, and the essential role of regulation in protecting the public and supporting the safe delivery of healthcare in Australia.
These conversations highlight what’s important in healthcare. People want to feel like they are being seen and heard when they consult with a health practitioner, and that they’re in safe hands. Practitioners are telling us how it feels from their perspective, including difficulties associated with self-care and what makes it harder for them to do their job.
Ahpra and the Boards are listening and committed to doing whatever they can improve the experience for the public and registered health practitioners, with public safety at the forefront.
Find out more about safe healthcare in Australia by downloading the podcasts:
Subscribe to Ahpra’s ‘Taking care’ podcast channel for access to interesting conversations about the latest issues affecting safe health care in Australia. New episodes released fortnightly. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and the ‘Taking care’ show page on Whooshka.
Feedback and comments about the ‘Taking care’ podcast channel, or any of the downloadable episodes, are welcome via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email the team if you are interested in hosting the podcast on your website or social media.
A new report, The role of accreditation in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes, was recently published by the Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative Forum, which is made up of the accreditation authorities for the health professions regulated in the National Scheme. The forum wanted to better understand and address the role accreditation plays in improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Achieving equity in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians is a shared commitment led by the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group and outlined in the Statement of Intent.
The project collected and analysed data from accredited health practitioner programs across Australia, to inform a collective strategy. This will involve accreditation authorities promoting quality education of health practitioners to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes and produce a culturally safe workforce.
To access the report, please visit the Accreditation publications webpage.
For more information on the forum, please visit the Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative Forum website.
Ahpra, National Boards and the Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative Forum have developed, for the first time, a snapshot of accreditation activities across the National Scheme for 2017/18.
The Accreditation snapshot 2017/18 gives an overview of accreditation activities and includes information about the organisations and bodies involved in accreditation, assessment of overseas-qualified practitioners and student registration numbers.
The accreditation activity across the National Scheme is considerable and this report, with its infographic layout, gives readers an accessible and comprehensive understanding of the accreditation function, the team’s role and the work they do.
The Accreditation Liaison Group (ALG), which brings together representatives of National Boards, accreditation authorities and Ahpra, was instrumental in creating the report.
Co-Chair of the ALG, Chair HPACF and CEO Australian Pharmacy Council, Bronwyn Clarke said, ‘This report, the first of its kind for accreditation, is a great example of the collaborative work being done through the ALG and highlights the importance of providing clear information.’
Ian Bluntish, Co-Chair ALG, Chair Optometry Board of Australia, added, ‘This report is an important step in building an understanding of the crucial role accreditation plays in the scheme. We plan to develop a similar report annually that will give an update on accreditation data and activities.’
Please visit the Ahpra Accreditation publications webpage to view the snapshot.
Ahpra and National Boards have published a new guide to help registered health practitioners understand and meet their obligations when using social media.
The guide reminds practitioners that when interacting online, they should maintain professional standards and be aware of the implications of their actions, just as when they interact in person.
The guide does not stop practitioners from engaging online or via social media; instead, it encourages practitioners to act ethically and professionally in any setting.
To help practitioners meet their obligations, the guide also outlines some common pitfalls practitioners may encounter when using social media.
Community trust in registered health practitioners is essential. Whether an online activity can be viewed by the public or is limited to a specific group of people, health practitioners have a responsibility to behave ethically and to maintain professional standards, as in all professional circumstances.
In using social media, health practitioners should be aware of their obligations under the National Law, their Board’s Code of conduct, the Advertising guidelines and other relevant legislation, such as privacy legislation.
This guide replaces the Social media policy on Boards’ codes, guidelines and policies pages and is available in the Advertising resources section of Ahpra's website. The guide will be updated as needed.
Ahpra and National Boards have released results from a social research project aimed at helping us understand perceptions about us and our work.
The aim of the social research project was for Ahpra and National Boards to better understand what the community, regulated health professions and our stakeholders think and feel about us, particularly in areas of understanding, confidence and trust.
Ahpra and National Boards are using insights gained from the project to better understand how registered health practitioners view what we do and to inform how we can improve our engagement with both the professions and the community.
Ahpra has released a report of results from the project which included a short, anonymous survey of a random sample of registered practitioners from across 15 of the 16 regulated health professions. (Because the practitioner survey was conducted before paramedics joined the National Scheme the report does not include survey results for this profession.)
The anonymous survey of practitioners was done simultaneously with an anonymous survey sent to a random sample of members of the public across communities in Australia. Both surveys were managed by an independent consultant. We invite you to take a look at the results.
Ahpra and National Boards social research project - Presentation
Ahpra and National Boards social research project - PDF
The Board has also published a profession-specific report based on the results of the online survey of registered health practitioners.
To help inform our future work to ensure the public has access to a safe registered health workforce, we are surveying practitioners and the community again in 2020.
Ahpra and the 15 National Boards are in the tenth year of implementing the National Scheme.
The National Scheme started in July 2010, initially regulating 10 health professions. Since 2012, five more health professions have joined the scheme, the latest being paramedics in December 2018. We now regulate over 744,000 practitioners across 16 health professions.
This growth in the number of regulated health professions was pivotal to refreshing the Ahpra logo, which also lists the National Boards and is used to represent the National Scheme.
The bold but simple design of the new Ahpra logo aims to serve us well into the future. It still has a key element of the old logo, namely the map of Australia, but is better suited to digital platforms (websites, social media) and for use across a variety of other materials.
Most importantly, it will not need updating as the old logo would if Health Ministers decide public safety would benefit from other health professions becoming regulated.
The National Board logos reflect the ongoing partnership between the National Boards and Ahpra in our shared role of protecting the public. Spelling Ahpra with just an initial capital helps people to pronounce our name correctly and distinguishes us from other regulators with similar acronyms.
As we say goodbye to the old logos and welcome the new, thanks for your patience while we complete this transition.