October 2019

Issue 21 - October 2019


Message from the Chair

Wayne MinterWelcome to our October newsletter. 

Registration renewal for chiropractors is now open and we are pleased to advise that the registration fee for 2019/20 remains the same as last year. The Board is committed to keeping the fee as low as possible while ensuring public safety through regulation. The quickest and easiest way to renew is online.

This month there are several National Board and AHPRA consultations open and details of the consultations are included in the newsletter. This your opportunity to have your say and the Board encourages all chiropractors to contribute and represent the views of the profession.

Many of you will be aware of the Independent review of chiropractic spinal manipulation on children under 12 years, conducted by Safer Care Victoria. The review examined the safety and efficacy of chiropractic practice in children and the Board awaits the outcome of the review with keen interest. 

Dr Wayne Minter AM
Chiropractor
Chair, Chiropractic Board of Australia

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Board news

Registration fees announced for 2019/20

The Board has announced the national registration fee for chiropractors for 2019/20.

The Board has kept the registration fee for chiropractors at $566. The fee for chiropractors whose principal place of practice is New South Wales is $526.

A full fee schedule is available, including the fee arrangements for practitioners whose principal place of practice is NSW.

Retaining the fee for 2019/20 ensures the Board has sufficient income to allow it to carry out its duties and protect the public.

Practitioner registration fees fund the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) and support the Board’s continuing efforts to support and develop a safe and mobile Australian workforce for registered health practitioners and the public in the most efficient way possible.

Registration fees also allow the Board to facilitate the provision of high-quality education and training for practitioners. 

Advertising bioresonance and biofeedback devices

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has begun work on a sector-wide compliance activity relating to the advertising of bioresonance and biofeedback devices. Further information has been released by the TGA. 

If you are considering advertising, whether it is these services and products or others, remember you are required to comply with professional and legal obligations.

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New resources help practitioners check for acceptable evidence in health advertising

New resources to help chiropractors and advertisers understand if claims made in advertising are supported by accepted evidence are now available.

Chiropractors can access the new information via a link on the advertising resources page on the Board’s website.

The approach taken to assessing evidence to support claims is consistent with the wider scientific and academic community. However, there is an important difference between acceptable evidence for claims made in advertising and the evidence used for clinical decisions about patient care.

When treating patients, practitioners must obtain informed consent for the care they provide and are expected to discuss the evidence for different treatment options. In advertising, the claims are generic, and practitioners are not available to clarify whether a treatment is appropriate for an individual patient.

There are many aspects to take into consideration when reviewing whether there is acceptable evidence to support a claim made in advertising a regulated health service. Factors to consider include:

  • Is the evidence relied on objective and based on accepted principles of good research? Is the evidence from a reputable source? For example, a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Do the studies used provide clear evidence for the therapeutic claims made or are they one of a number of possible explanations for treatment outcomes?
  • Have the results of the study been replicated? Results consistent across multiple studies, replicated on independent populations, are more likely to be sound.
  • Has the evidence been contradicted by more objective, higher quality studies? If it has, then this type of evidence is not acceptable.

Study design is also an important aspect to consider when assessing if claims are supported by acceptable evidence. The following types of studies will generally not be considered acceptable evidence for advertising claims:

  • studies involving no human subjects
  • before and after studies with little or no control or reference group
  • self-assessment studies
  • anecdotal evidence based on observations in practice
  • outcome studies or audits, unless bias or other factors that may influence the results are carefully controlled, and/or
  • studies that are not generalisable to the advertising audience.

The evidence base for clinical practice is constantly developing so it is important to make sure that the evidence you rely on is current.

The new information on acceptable evidence in health advertising, which includes issues to consider about study design, is available in the Advertising resources section of the AHPRA website.

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Get to know your colleagues – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners

In the coming months, the Board will welcome members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board (ATSIHPBA) who will give an update about ATSIHPBA, the profession and its practitioners.

The ATSIHPBA wants to help the chiropractic profession understand the value that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners can bring to Australian healthcare to make it culturally safe and help close the gap. Below are some facts about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and their profession to help chiropractors know more.

Facts about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners

  • Programs of study that lead to registration as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner are the only ethnically based health training programs of their type in the world and have been recognised as such by the United Nations.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners work across organisations in many roles and act as cultural brokers and make healthcare settings, including hospitals, more culturally safe.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are one profession under the same roof as many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals, and they account for a small proportion of the total Indigenous health workforce (which includes Aboriginal Health Workers, Liaison Officers, and others).

  • They predominantly work for public hospitals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

  • The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) is the professional body which works hard to promote the profession.

  • Tasks Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are qualified to perform include immunisations, screening of physical, social and emotional wellbeing, administering and supplying medications, advocating for clients, health promotion and providing advice, support and training on culturally safe health services.

  • They complement the roles of other health practitioners, including chiropractors. The cultural liaison and expertise they provide is invaluable. Their patient rapport and insight into culturally safe and responsive approaches to care helps non-Indigenous clinicians to achieve the best health outcomes for the patient.

  • New accreditation standards starting next year will enable programs offering qualifications higher than the current Certificate IV level to apply for accreditation.

  • Challenges to the profession include retention, lack of career mapping, employers not harnessing their full scope of practice, and completing their study in the time allowed (for cultural reasons and because of travelling distance). However, registrant numbers are steadily rising. 

What you can do to help and spread the word

The ATSIHPBA would like to continue to work with AHPRA and the chiropractic profession to help spread the word about the culturally safe workforce which is qualified, competent, registered and ready to go to work in both clinical and non-clinical roles.

Here are some things that you, as a chiropractor, can do to help:

  • Ask a question: ask your health service, employer or other team members, ‘How many Aboriginal Health Practitioners do we employ?’ or ‘Did you know we could make our practice more culturally safe by employing an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, and do our bit towards closing the gap?’ 
  • Make them a priority: prioritise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health workforce agenda.
  • Share the message: distribute the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice profession brochures, available on their website. The brochures explain their role to employers.

Engaging the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce to work in partnership with chiropractors is a crucial opportunity to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

If you would like to find out more about the profession please contact Executive Officer Jill Humphreys at jill.humphreys@ahpra.gov.au or on (03) 8708 9066.

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Registration

Renew your registration by 30 November

Online renewal for chiropractors is now open. Look out for emails from AHPRA on how to renew your registration with the Board. You need to renew your registration by 30 November 2019 or risk your registration lapsing.

Read your renewal declarations carefully

Each year when you renew, you are asked questions to ensure that you are meeting the registration standards of your profession, such as continuing professional development (CPD) and professional indemnity insurance (PII). 

The Board expects you to read, understand and comply with the current registration standards. The Board recently completed a review of its CPD registration standard, and the revised standard will take effect on 1 December 2019 (see below for more details). You must comply with the current CPD registration standard until 30 November. 

You are also asked if you have an impairment that is likely to detrimentally affect your capacity to practise as a chiropractor. This question is about whether you have a physical or mental health condition or disorder (including substance abuse or dependence) that is likely to diminish your ability to practise safely.

It is important to think carefully about this question.

Remember, health conditions which are safely managed so that they don't detrimentally affect your ability to practise, such as needing prescription glasses or taking time off work for a fractured arm, don't need to be declared.

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Revised registration standard for CPD takes effect in December

The Board, along with four other National Boards, has published its revised CPD registration standard which will start on 1 December 2019 and replace the existing standard.

The revised standard gives more flexible options for meeting the requirements and the Board expects practitioners to complete CPD that is evidence-based and improves patient health outcomes, safety and experiences.

Further information about the revised standard and guidance material will be published in the coming months.

Latest workforce data available

The Board published its latest quarterly report in August, covering workforce data from 30 April to 30 June 2019.

As at that date, there are 5,550 registered chiropractors, of whom 5,214 have general registration. Of the others, three have limited registration and 333 have non-practising registration. There are 29 chiropractors endorsed for acupuncture.

The workforce consists of 2,227 (40%) female and 3,323 (59.9%) 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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National Scheme news

Have your say on the latest National Board and AHPRA consultations

Three public consultations are now open asking for people to have their say on revised guidance to help practitioners and others understand their mandatory notification obligations, understand their obligations when advertising a regulated health service and to support a responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice.

Alongside other National Boards and AHPRA, the Board is conducting consultations on:

  • revised Guidelines for mandatory notifications
  • revised Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service, and
  • a proposed Supervised practice framework (excluding Psychology and Pharmacy Boards).

We invite chiropractors and chiropractic stakeholders to give feedback to these important public consultations. To ensure everyone has the chance to respond the closing dates for consultation are staggered as follows:

  • Guidelines for mandatory notifications − closes 6 November 2019
  • Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service − closes 26 November 2019
  • Supervised practice framework − closes 17 December 2019.

The consultation papers are available on the Consultation page of the Board’s website. To make it easier to participate, you can use the online survey option to send us your feedback.

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Tackling the fear of notifications – practitioners’ perspectives

Earlier this year, AHPRA launched a series of videos to support members of the public and registered health practitioners who are going through the notification process.

The video series, called ‘Let’s talk about it’, explains what happens when concerns are raised with the regulator, gives easy-to-follow information about the notifications process and addresses common questions, so consumers and health practitioners know what to expect when they interact with AHPRA and National Boards.

The series is part of work to minimise the adverse impact of the notifications process on practitioners and notifiers. Over the last few months two new videos were added. These provide a first-hand account of the notification process from a practitioner’s perspective:

The videos sit alongside other written resources available on the website, including information about understanding the notifications experience. See: www.ahpra.gov.au/Notifications.

You can view the videos on the AHPRA and National Board websites or on our YouTube and Vimeo channel, and join the conversation by following AHPRA on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, use the hashtag #letstalkaboutit and tag @AHPRA.

My experience: receiving a notification

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Fake practitioners face jail and hefty fines under new regulatory powers

Since 1 July this year, the law is tougher on people who pretend to be a registered health practitioner. The penalties for anyone prosecuted by AHPRA under the National Law for these offences now include bigger fines and the prospect of prison time.

Australia’s health ministers wanted to address the serious risk to the public posed by anyone who pretends to be a registered health practitioner, so they increased the sanctions offenders face.

AHPRA has a strong track record of taking action on individuals pretending to be a registered health practitioner when they are not. Since 2014, AHPRA has successfully prosecuted more than 50 cases where people were falsely claiming to be registered practitioners. These included people pretending to be medical practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapistspsychologists and dentists.

Fake practitioners betray the trust that patients place in them. Under the changes to the law, offenders face the possibility of a maximum term of three years’ imprisonment per offence. They also face an increase in the maximum fines from $30,000 to $60,000 per offence for an individual and from $60,000 to $120,000 per offence for a corporate entity.

Everyone can check the online register of practitioners to make sure they are seeing a registered practitioner who is qualified and meets national standards.

Summary of the new laws

  • The amendments were passed in February 2019 by the Queensland Parliament under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) (the Act).
  • The new offence provisions will apply in all states and territories, except Western Australia.
  • The amendments apply to people pretending to be a registered health practitioner. Under the National Law, anyone who calls themselves any of the ‘protected titles’, such as ‘dentist’, ‘chiropractor’, ‘medical practitioner’ or ‘psychologist’, must be registered with the relevant National Board. It is an offence to use one of the protected titles, and it is also an offence to knowingly or recklessly claim to be a registered practitioner when you’re not or use symbols or language that may lead a reasonable person to believe that an individual is a registered health practitioner or is qualified to practise in a health profession. These offences are known as ‘holding out’.
  • The amendments to offence provisions do not apply to advertising offences under the National Law.

Read more in the media release.

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AHPRA scoops international regulatory excellence award

The Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) has bestowed its Regulatory Excellence Group Award on AHPRA’s Notifications team, recognising its contribution to improving the experience of health practitioners and the public when engaging with the regulator.

The prestigious award recognises an outstanding team contribution to the enhancement of occupational or professional regulation, regulatory processes or consumer and public protection.

To receive the award the team had to demonstrate exceptional leadership, vision, creativity, results and outcomes above and beyond the regular functions of the job or expectations, and beyond what is normally achieved.

AHPRA’s National Director Notifications, Matthew (Matt) Hardy, accepted the award on behalf of his team and project leaders National Engagement Advisor Susan Biggar and Program Manager Monica Lambley.

‘I also want to thank all of our notifications teams across Australia who are deeply committed to our public safety mission and have embraced new ways of working to communicate better with health practitioners and the public,’ Matt said.

‘They have led the introduction of surveys and interviews to ask how practitioners and the public have felt through the notifications process, which has led to real changes in how we do our work. Since 2016, we have received over 5,000 surveys and conducted nearly 100 face to face interviews with practitioners and notifiers. This work has transformed our staff training and support materials.

‘More recently, the team has developed the Let’s talk about it video series to support notifiers and health practitioners as they go through the notification process,’ he added.

Matt received the award at CLEAR's 2019 Annual Educational Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 20 September. AHPRA’s Executive Director of Regulatory Operations Kym Ayscough is the incoming President of CLEAR. Kym has been a member of the CLEAR Board of Directors since 2016 and is the first President from the southern hemisphere.


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 30/10/2019