November 2021

Issue 27 - November 2021


Chair's message

Wayne Minter

Welcome to the Chiropractic Board’s newsletter.

Registration renewal for chiropractors is now open. We recognise the effect that the lockdowns may have had on your practice. There are registration and renewal fee payment plans for practitioners who are experiencing financial hardship. To read more about the payment plan, see the Consideration of financial hardship page.

Board members have been communicating with chiropractic students through a series of university presentations for students of approved chiropractic programs. We encourage all final year students to apply for registration as soon as possible: read below for more details.

We recognise and thank you for the important role you play in keeping the community safe and healthy. Stay safe and take care.

Dr Wayne Minter AM
Chiropractor
Chair, Chiropractic Board of Australia

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Board news

Continuing professional development: meeting the requirements this year and next year

Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important way for you to maintain and improve knowledge and skills. CPD helps to maintain competence and supports safe and effective care.

The Board expects you to make reasonable efforts to complete CPD and there are many flexible-delivery and COVID-safe options including interactive CPD which can be completed virtually. Did you know that COVID-related learning activities can be counted towards your CPD?

Examples of COVD-safe CPD options include:

  • online learning such as webinars and conferences and internet research
  • written reflections on experience in day-to-day clinical practice
  • reading books, publications and journals relevant to your practice
  • quality assurance activities, such as accreditation, clinical audits or review of records, and
  • professional or interprofessional interactions such as meetings, case reviews, and clinical forums which can be done online.

We understand that you may still have had trouble fully meeting CPD particularly any face to face requirements of CPD due to the impacts of COVID-19. When completing your registration renewal, you should answer all questions honestly and accurately.

If you declare at the 2021 renewal that you have not met the standard due to COVID-19 the Board may request evidence in future of what you have done to address any identified gaps in your CPD learning needs, as COVID safe options increasingly become available and/or restrictions are eased.

First aid requirement (CPR)

Many training organisations are offering online programs that meet the training requirements for CPR and First Aid. If any component of your training is not current, we encourage you to undertake the training as soon as possible. You can continue to practise in the meantime. You will be expected to fully meet this requirement when renewing in 2022.

Further guidance on the Board’s CPD requirements can be found on our website.

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Advertising – tips for chiropractors

All registered health practitioners who advertise, including chiropractors, are responsible for their advertising. When you advertise, consider the following tips:

  • Think about your advertising from a patient’s point of view – could it be misleading; does it tell them everything they need to know; or could it create unrealistic expectations of treatment?
  • If the evidence is too weak to support advertising of a therapeutic claim, leave it out.
  • Including a lot of complicated information can be confusing for patients. Remember, you can explain more about the treatment in a consultation.
  • Be careful about publishing content copied from somewhere else – make sure you check it first. You are responsible for what you publish, even if someone else wrote it.

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Your obligations in the public health setting – vaccination

The Board strongly encourages you to have the full COVID-19 vaccination course as scheduled unless medically contraindicated. This is consistent with the Board’s expectations, as set out in the Code of conduct, that chiropractors have a responsibility to participate in efforts to promote the health of communities and meet obligations with respect to disease prevention including vaccination, health screening and the reporting of notifiable diseases.

Further information is available in the Position statement: Registered health practitioners and students and COVID-19 vaccination.

The Board’s Position statement on the provision of health information states that advice about vaccination is not typically in the usual area of practice or competency for a chiropractor. You should not display, promote or provide materials, information or advice that is anti-vaccination in nature and/or should not make public comment discouraging vaccination.

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Regulation at work

Chiropractor suspended for promoting anti-vaccination material

A Victorian chiropractor has been suspended for six months for professional misconduct which included linking childhood vaccination to poison in an interview called Nazi vaccine regime in Australia published on YouTube and permitting an anti-vaccination movie to be shown in his clinic

The Board referred chiropractor Dr Simon Floreani to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) for professional misconduct on 29 March 2019

The tribunal stated that it had ‘no hesitation’ in making a finding of professional misconduct, given the ‘flawed, inaccurate and dangerous statements’ that Dr Floreani had made and endorsed during the interview, in full knowledge that those statements were entirely inconsistent with the Chiropractic Board’s Code of conduct and Statement on advertising, and the Vaccination position statement published by the National Boards and Ahpra

On 21 September 2021, the tribunal reprimanded Dr Floreani and suspended him from practice for a period of six months (with effect from 18 October 2021). It also placed the following conditions on Dr Floreani’s registration:

  • he must not display, promote or provide materials, information or advice that is anti-vaccination in nature to patients
  • he must not make public comment discouraging vaccination
  • if asked by a patient or prospective patient for information about vaccination, he must refer that person to an appropriately qualified health professional, and
  • he must display signs at his place of practice stating that he does not provide patients with advice about vaccination.

The conditions are the same as the immediate action conditions that Dr Floreani has been subject to since March 2018.

For more information, read the news item.

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Tribunal disqualifies chiropractor for failing to hold professional indemnity insurance

A South Australian chiropractor has been reprimanded, had his registration cancelled and been disqualified for 12 months after he failed to hold appropriate professional indemnity insurance for seven years.

Dr Nicholas White was notified in May 2018 that he had been selected for random audit of his compliance with registration standards for the period 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017. Following his failure to provide appropriate evidence despite several requests, Ahpra initiated an investigation on 31 May 2019.

Dr White was alleged to have practised as a chiropractor between 15 January 2012 and 20 June 2019 without holding any appropriate professional indemnity insurance (PII) coverage. The Board also alleged that Dr White failed to comply with compulsory professional development (CPD) requirements between 1 December 2012 and August 2019, including failing to hold a valid first aid certificate. In addition, Dr White had made false declarations on his applications for renewal at registration for each of the years 2013 to 2018 claiming that he had met the PII and CPD requirements.

The Board referred the matter to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) on 22 May 2020.

The tribunal found that Dr White was knowingly dishonest when he claimed to have met the PII and CPD requirements on the audit checklist and in his 2018 renewal declaration. Dr White’s dishonesty caused the regulator to renew his registration and allowed him to continue to practise without PII cover.

On 27 May 2021, the tribunal found that Dr White had engaged in professional misconduct. The disqualification period of 12 months was to ‘bring home to Dr White and other practitioners the critical importance of maintaining PII cover and the absolute necessity of honesty and integrity in dealing with the regulation authorities’; and to reinforce that serious misconduct in these areas will lead to significant sanctions.

For more information, read the news item.

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Registration

Online renewal for chiropractors is open – renew now and avoid late payment fees

Chiropractors have until 30 November 2021 to renew their general or non-practising registration.

Look out for an email from Ahpra providing access to online renewal. You’re encouraged to renew early to avoid delays – it might save you a call to Ahpra during the busy renewal period!

Ready to renew?

Read the renewal FAQs on the Ahpra website for helpful tips and more information on what you need to do to renew.

We cover common questions on professional indemnity insurance, recency of practice, continuing professional development, and what to do if you have a change in your criminal history or health impairments you need to tell us about.

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Latest workforce data released

The Board published its latest quarterly report in August covering workforce data from 1 July to 30 September 2021

As at that date, there are 5,977 registered chiropractors, of whom 5,582 have general registration. There are 395 who have non-practising registration

The workforce consists of 2,486 (41.6%) female and 3,491 (58.4%) male practitioners

For further information, including data breakdowns by principal place of practice and age, visit the Statistics page on our website.

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Students and graduates

Graduating soon? Be ready to start work – apply now

Once you are registered, you can work as a chiropractor anywhere in Australia

Before you can start practising and using the protected title, ‘chiropractor’, you must be registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia (the Board)

If you're set to complete your course within the next three months, apply for registration now. We'll start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

How do I apply?

Create your account using the online services portal and complete your application.

Upload your documents and pay the required fees. Check that you have provided all required documentation to prove you’ve met the registration standards, including certified copies of your photo ID.

Wait for your education provider to provide your graduate results to Ahpra.

Once we’ve received your graduate results from your education provider and we are satisfied that you have met all the requirements for registration, we will finalise your application.

When you are registered, we will publish your name to the Register of practitioners, and you can start working as a chiropractor!

Get your application right

Check out our graduate video to help you get your application right.

You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website.

Photo ID

It's important that you provide correctly certified photo ID documents with your application - the wording is very specific.

‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original and the photograph is a true likeness of the person presenting the document as sighted by me.’

To get it right the first time download the guide Certifying documents and take it with you to the authorised officer.

Who can certify documents?

In addition to JPs, most registered health practitioners, public servants, teachers, lecturers and members of the legal profession can certify photographic ID documents. For the full list of authorised officers see the guide.

Meeting the Board’s registration requirements

When you apply for registration, your application is carefully assessed against the Board’s requirements for registration.

For registration as a chiropractor, you need to prove that you meet the following standards:

  • criminal history
  • English language skills, and
  • professional indemnity insurance.

You will also need to declare any impairments that may affect your ability to practise.

We cannot register you until we are satisfied that you meet the requirements for registration and are suitably trained and qualified.

You can also check out the Board’s video for graduating students which introduces you to the Board, outlines the standards that must be met to become registered and the professional standards expected of the profession in order to stay registered.

For more information, see the news item.

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Alert

Services Australia notification: Upgrade to digital health and aged care channels

Services Australia is pleased to be working with Ahpra to prepare you for the upgrades the agency is making to its digital health and aged care channels.

Services Australia is upgrading its digital health and aged care channels. These upgrades will ensure that patient and provider information is secure, now and into the future.

To continue accessing the channels below, you’ll need to be using web service-compatible software by 13 March 2022:

  • Medicare Online
  • Australian Immunisation Register
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • ECLIPSE
  • PBS Online
  • Aged Care Online

Services Australia is also strengthening its authentication process by replacing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) site certificates with Provider Digital Access (PRODA) for organisations.

PRODA will help you do your electronic business with Services Australia securely.

If you use an alternative channel for your claims and don’t use software, you don’t need to do anything. These upgrades won’t affect you.

For more information about PRODA, visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/proda 

What you need to do

Australian Government - Services Australia LogoYour software developer will have information on their transition and upgrade plans for your site. If you haven’t heard from them, contact them now and ask:

  • when will your web services-compatible software be available, and
  • if you will need to register your organisation in PRODA to authenticate to Medicare Online/ECLIPSE web services.*

*Users of PBS Online and Aged Care must register their organisation in PRODA to authenticate to their web services-enabled software.

If you use PBS Online, your software developer will contact you when more information is available.

It is important that you understand these changes, as they will affect your business if you use software to submit claims and data to Services Australia.

For more information, visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/hpwebservices 

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National Scheme news

Changes to notification management are coming in Queensland

Queensland will introduce joint consideration of all notifications about health practitioners between Ahpra, the National Boards and the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in December 2021.

The changes aim to speed up the initial assessment of notifications, which will benefit registered health practitioners and notifiers.

All notifications about chiropractors in Queensland will continue to be received by the OHO. Currently, the OHO deals with the most serious matters it receives and refers most of the remaining notifications to Ahpra and the Chiropractic Board of Australia.

From December, all notifications received by the OHO about chiropractors will be shared with Ahpra and the Board when they are received. Ahpra and the OHO will review each notification at the same time and agree on which agency should manage the matter. All notifications that raise a concern about a chiropractor’s performance will be reviewed by a chiropractic clinical advisor.

The changes provide greater opportunity for earlier closure of concerns that do not need a regulatory response.

Ahpra CEO, Mr Martin Fletcher, said that the joint consideration approach would build on the strong relationship between the OHO, Ahpra and National Boards in managing notifications to support access to safe, professional practitioners for Queensland and Australia more broadly.

‘We’re looking forward to working even more closely with the OHO to ensure that notifications about health practitioners are assessed as quickly and consistently as possible,’ Mr Fletcher said.
‘This means a better experience both for health practitioners and notifiers.’

Relevant changes to Queensland legislation take effect on 6 December 2021 and all notifications from this date will be subject to joint consideration. For more information on how notifications are managed, see Ahpra's website.

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COVID-19 and vaccines: joint statement helps sort fact from fiction

A joint statement has been released by Ahpra and the National Boards, the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Office of the Health Ombudsman and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Its message is: You need reliable, evidence-based information to be able to make good choices about your healthcare. But in a climate thick with commentary about COVID-19 and vaccines, how do you sort fact from fiction?

The statement covers four main points:

  • Get advice from the experts (with a link to the national online register of practitioners).
  • Be safe in the knowledge that registered health practitioners must meet national standards (with links to the National Boards’ websites).
  • Don’t get swayed by opinions.
  • Reach out to a trusted person, like your GP.

It also lists and links to reliable sources of information on COVID-19 and vaccinations in Australia to help people make sure they have the best, most accurate and evidence-based information for their specific needs when making decisions about their own or their loved ones’ health.

The statement has been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Greek, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese. These versions are available on Ahpra’s Translations page.

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You may notice that the public register looks a little different

Ahpra has launched a new-look public register with enhanced search capabilities. The aim of the enhancements is to make the online register easier to use, especially for those in our communities who may have barriers to access.

What’s different?

Some of the changes you’ll see include:

  • increased prominence of the register on the Ahpra homepage so it’s easier to find
  • simplified language with pop-up information boxes, and
  • improved search functionality, including:
    • predictive text
    • phonetic searching capability
    • search by location, and
    • refined search filters (including being able to search by the 15 most common community languages).

To help users navigate the new-look register, we’ve developed a ‘how to search’ video which is available on our Help and tips page.

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Research and evaluation framework to embed strong research culture

National Boards and Ahpra have published the Research and evaluation framework, the guiding document that outlines how we prioritise, carry out, manage and assess research and evaluation.

The framework, which builds on the inaugural framework released in 2017, aims to further embed an ethical, transparent and accountable best practice research and evaluation culture within the National Scheme.

The framework covers all National Scheme research and evaluation activities including those led by Ahpra staff and external researchers and consultants. It includes information on:

  • research and evaluation principles
  • priorities
  • governance and practice
  • engagement and communication.

The framework can be viewed on the Ahpra website.


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 19/11/2021