August 2013

Issue 7 – August 2013

Message from the Chair

The Osteopathy Board of Australia and I would like to welcome two new members to the Board:

Ms Judith Dikstein   Community member from the NT
Mr Robert McGregor AM           Community member from NSW

On 11 July 2013, the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council announced appointments of the two Community Board members until 30 August 2015 and also an extension of my term as Chair until 30 August 2014.

They join our current members:

Dr Robert Fendall   Chair and a practitioner member from NSW 
Dr Natalie Rutsche   Practitioner member from QLD
Dr Amanda Heyes   Practitioner member from WA
Adjunct Professor Philip Tehan   Practitioner member from VIC
Dr Nikole Grbin   Practitioner member from SA
Ms Liza Newby   Community member from Victoria (rural)

There is still one practitioner member vacancy (Tas./ACT/NT) to be finalised by the Ministerial Council. We have welcomed the new members at their first Board meeting and will keep you informed of future Board vacancies.

Robert Fendall
Chair,
Osteopathy Board of Australia

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Competent authority pathway – consultation

The Board plans to introduce a second pathway for overseas-trained osteopaths – a competent authority pathway – in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Currently the Australian and New Zealand Osteopathic Council (ANZOC) administers a four-stage standard pathway for assessing overseas trained practitioners’ eligibility for general registration. A competent authority pathway will be a more streamlined process for assessing the qualifications of certain osteopaths from overseas, before registration by the Board. It would apply to osteopaths from the United Kingdom who qualified from courses that were ‘recognised’ by the General Osteopathic Council within a specified time. It will mean that those in the competent authority pathway will not need to undertake the written or clinical exams and the portfolio assessment that are part of the standard pathway.

The proposed competent authority pathway has been subject to wide-ranging public consultation in 2013. After consideration, the Board has revised the proposed pathway to include assessment against a module to familiarise osteopaths with the Australian healthcare context and a period of supervised practice under provisional registration. After successful completion of these two elements, practitioners may apply for general registration.

The Board has released a public consultation paper to seek further comment. You can find the revised Framework: pathways for registration of overseas-trained osteopaths, the Guidelines for supervision of osteopaths and associated forms under Current consultations on our website. If you wish to comment, please email your feedback to osteoboardconsultation@ahpra.gov.au by close of business on Friday 9 August 2013.

The Board generally publishes submissions, so please let us know if you do not want us to publish your submission, or want us to treat all or part of it as confidential.

Once the new competent authority pathway is implemented, the Board intends to evaluate the supervision requirement.

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Coroner’s Court findings on occupational health and safety

The Board has noted the recent South Australian Coroner’s Court finding about an occupational health and safety issue that led to the death of an unsupervised child in a massage therapy treatment room. Another death of a child, in the US in 2011, involved an electric spinal therapy table in a chiropractic clinic. Adjustable tables are used by many different types of practitioners.

The Board’s Code of conduct emphasises the importance of osteopaths being aware of relevant state and territory legislation, including workplace safety legislation. Occupational health and safety legislation imposes obligations on all of us to maintain safe working environments for ourselves, our staff, our patients and their families.

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Fees for 2013-14

The Board has announced the fees for osteopaths for 2013/14. The national registration fee has been set at $516 and the Board is pleased to keep the increase below that of CPI. It will apply from 1 August 2013 for all osteopaths in Australia, except the 513 osteopaths with a principal place of practice in NSW. A fee schedule is published on the Osteopathy Board’s website.

The regulation of osteopathy is funded solely by registrant fees and there is no cross-subsidisation between professions that are regulated in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme).

At the commencement of the National Scheme, the NSW Government decided to manage its own complaint management system and therefore a co-regulatory model exists in that state. In NSW the complaint management and decisions are handled by the Osteopathy Council of NSW and supported by Health Professional Council Authority.

Variation to the fees payable by NSW osteopaths was announced by the Osteopathy Council of NSW and will apply from 1 September 2013. The general registration fee will be $635 (a surcharge of $119) for osteopaths with a principal place of practice in NSW. More information for NSW practitioners is available on the council’s website.

The Osteopathy Council of NSW is responsible for setting the fee payable by NSW practitioners for the notifications/ complaints element of the registration. In 2012/13, the Osteopathy Council of NSW received $165 or 33% of the $504 annual registration fee paid by practitioners in NSW. The NSW government contributes funding for the Health Care Complaints Commission. The Osteopathy Council of NSW has found it necessary to increase the fee paid by NSW osteopaths due to the costs of the notifications/complaint handling for osteopathy in NSW. The Board is not involved in setting the final level of fees in NSW. A helpful AHPRA media release on the Board’s website explains this in greater detail.

The renewal of registration and the processing of associated fees are administered by AHPRA. The registration period for osteopaths ends on 30 November 2013.

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Audit of compliance with registration standards

All registered osteopaths are required to comply with a range of registration standards that have been developed by the Board. Each time you apply to renew your registration you must make a declaration that you have met these registration standards.

Practitioner audits are an important part of the way that National Boards and AHPRA can better protect the public. Audits help to make sure that health practitioners are meeting the standards and provide important assurance to the community and the Boards. AHPRA is fine-tuning a process and tools to audit practitioner compliance with mandatory registration standards on behalf of National Boards.

AHPRA has undertaken two pilots to audit practitioners for compliance with three registration standards:

  • continuing professional development
  • professional indemnity insurance, and
  • recency of practice.

AHPRA is also auditing compliance with requirements in the National Law for practitioners to provide information about their criminal history.

A report for phase one of the pilot audit, which was conducted with the pharmacy profession, is available on the audit page on the AHPRA website, along with updated and detailed information about next steps.

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Page reviewed 14/08/2014