February 2014

Issue 9 - February 2014

Message from the Chair

The Board would welcome your interest in applying to be on the list of approved persons for panel appointments, which is now open. It could be your introduction to working in regulation and to the work of the Board.

In international news, the Board is pleased to refer you to a recent publication by the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) – the first global report on osteopathy. The OIA developed a strong working relationship with the World Health Organisation during the report’s publication. Please take time to read the report and pass it on to those who are interested in the history of how our fast-expanding profession has spread worldwide and its current status in many countries. Australian osteopath Michael Mulholland-Licht is the current Chair of the OIA Board of Directors. Michael is the past Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Osteopathic Council, the Board’s accreditation council.

Continuing the international focus, the Board is pleased to announce that a new competent authority pathway (CAP) opened on 1 January 2014 for some UK-trained osteopaths. Already there is interest from potential applicants. Some of you with five years’ registration in Australia may be asked to provide supervision for those from overseas who are interested in this pathway.

We are the fastest growing regulated health profession in Australia, with 80 per cent of registered osteopaths aged under 50 and with an even gender mix. This means that we do not have the issues of an ageing workforce or gender imbalance of some other professions. But there is a striking geographic imbalance. The latest statistics show where we practise, gender distribution and our age profile.

The next newsletter will be a special edition on the following documents that will come into effect on 17 March 2014:

  • revised Guidelines for advertising regulated health services 
  • revised Guidelines for mandatory notifications 
  • revised Code of conduct, and 
  • new Social media policy.

Robert Fendall

Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia

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Panels – express your interest

The Board invites osteopaths to express interest in being added to a list of panel members to be called on when a performance and professional standards panel or a health panel hearing is required. These panels may be infrequent, but involvement is an opportunity to become familiar with the types of notifications that the Board receives and the legislation that governs osteopathy practice, decision-making and administration under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

Appointments to the list of approved persons are currently advertised by the Board. For more information, visit the Panel member recruitment page on the AHPRA website.

The closing date is 21 March 2014.

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Competent authority pathway for overseas practitioners is now available

United Kingdom-trained osteopaths who have graduated from certain courses are now able to apply for registration to work in Australia via a new pathway. The new competent authority pathway sits alongside the existing standard pathway for overseas practitioners.

It will allow some practitioners who qualified in the United Kingdom after 2000 to be considered as qualified for practice in Australia. Overseas-qualified osteopaths who apply for registration through the competent authority pathway will be required to sit an assessment on the practice of osteopathy in Australia. This assessment is run by the Australian and New Zealand Osteopathic Council (ANZOC) and is based on Information on the practice of osteopathy in Australia: a guide for graduates trained overseas, which is published on ANZOC’s website. The range of UK courses that ANZOC considers as qualifications for this pathway is also listed.

Once they have satisfactorily passed the ANZOC assessment, overseas-qualified osteopaths applying via the competent authority pathway will also be required to be supervised for six months in Australia while holding provisional registration, before being eligible for general registration. The overseas-qualified osteopath will be supervised by two Australian osteopaths, one of whom may be an employer. When the applicant osteopaths have successfully met the supervision and provisional registration requirements, the Board will consider their application for general registration.

The Board’s website has information on the competent authority pathway contained in the Osteopathy Framework – Pathways for registration of overseas-trained osteopaths; and the relevant forms and fees for provisional registration and transferring to general registration.

Osteopaths with at least five years’ general registration in Australia may be approached to assist those in the new competent authority pathway by supervising a UK-trained osteopath during their provisional registration period. The Supervision in the competent authority pathway fact sheet explains supervision requirements in more detail, in addition to the relevant supervision guidelines and forms.

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Your professional conduct, advertising and use of social media

The Board has released revised guidelines on advertising and mandatory notifications, a revised code of conduct and a new social media policy.

The policy and guidelines are common across all National Boards and apply to all registered health practitioners. Most National Boards have a shared code of conduct. An FAQ sheet on the transition to the new guidance, as well as documents showing the difference between the current and new Mandatory notifications guidelines and shared Code of conduct, have also been published.

These documents were published on the National Board websites in February 2014 to allow practitioners time to become familiar with their content before they come into effect from mid-March 2014.

All osteopaths must familiarise themselves with the Board’s requirements regarding advertising, professional conduct and social media use. These updated documents provide guidance about interpretation of the advertising provisions of the National Law and may be used as evidence in any proceedings against a health practitioner. Visit the Codes and guidelines page to view the documents.

In an upcoming newsletter the Board will summarise some of the key features in the new documents, explain the terms and how to check that you are complying with the Board’s requirements in your advertising.

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Osteopathic International Alliance and international regulators’ forum

The Chair and Executive Officer of the Board attended the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) annual meeting and conference in Austin, Texas, on 11 and 12 January 2014. The Chair gave a presentation titled Advertising and marketing claims as part of the registration and regulation forum.

The OIA’s report Osteopathy and osteopathic medicine – a global view of practice, patients, education and the contribution to healthcare delivery was launched at this conference, and is available online at the OIA’s website.

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Snapshot of the profession

In December 2013, the Board published its latest quarterly data update on osteopathy registrants. There are currently 1,823 registered osteopaths in Australia, of which 77 are non-practising. Two practitioners – in Victoria – are endorsed for acupuncture.

By far the largest number of osteopaths practise in Victoria (52.72%), followed by NSW (28.41%) and Queensland (8.94%). See Table 1 below for further details.

Table 1  Osteopathy practitioner by principal place of practice

State  ACT NSW  NT  QLD  SA TAS VIC WA No PPP 
Percentage  1.76%  28.41%  0.05% 8.94% 1.76% 2.08% 52.72% 2.91% 1.37%

The gender balance in osteopathy is 47.17 per cent male and 52.83 per cent female.

Table 2 – Percentage of osteopaths by gender

Osteopathy Practitioner  ACT NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA No PPP Total
Female 46.88% 41.70% - 41.10% 62.50% 65.79% 60.67% 47.17% 48.00% 52.83%
Male 53.13% 58.30% 100.00% 58.90% 37.50% 34.21% 39.33% 52.83% 52.00% 47.17%

The largest number of registrants by age is in the 25-39 year-old group. See Table 3 below for further details.

Table 3 – Osteopathy registrations by age

Age U-25 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-54 65-69 70-74 75-79 80+
Number of registrants 45 323 398 337 225 127 103 104 87 34 25 9 6

For further information, visit About>Statistics on our website.

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For more information

  • Visit the Board's website for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ. Visiting the website regularly is the best way to stay in touch with news and updates from the Board. 
  • Lodge an enquiry form via the website by following the Enquiries link on every web page under Contact us. 
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 8708 9001 (for overseas callers).
  • To update your contact details for important registration renewal emails and other Board updates, go to the AHPRA website: Update contact details
  • Address mail correspondence to: Robert Fendall, Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 22/01/2015