February 2016

Issue 14 - February 2016


Message from the Chair

I would like to wish osteopathy registrants a happy new year for 2016. I would also like to thank the Osteopathy Board, the Board’s accreditation council (Australasian Osteopathic Accreditation Council), the stakeholders we interacted with during the last year, and AHPRA staff for their continued interest in and great support of regulation of osteopathy in Australia.

Attendance at the Osteopathic International Alliance conference in Montreal in September affirmed for me how fortunate we are in Australia to have our current system of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme). There is always a strong interest in our approach from European countries, Canada and the US. For some countries, such as Canada, which has a similar federated system of government, the interest is in how we have achieved and implemented an approach that is both national and multi-professional. Some countries are still trying to achieve full regulation (as opposed to self-regulation), or do not have title protection.

It was a great opportunity to hold formal meetings with regulators, accreditors and stakeholders from Australia, New Zealand and the UK. In 2016 we will work closely with the regulators in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, in particular, to share ideas for best practice regulation.

Dr Nikole Grbin
Osteopath
Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia

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Osteopathy Board news

Revised registration standards (recency of practice and CPD) now in effect

The Board has published revised registration standards, which come into effect in this registration year and replace the existing standards. Registration standards define the requirements that applicants and registrants need to meet to be registered.

There are some important changes to these registration standards and guidelines and the Board expects all registered osteopaths to read and understand the revised documents. Reading the Board’s registration standards, codes and guidelines and overview of the National Law1 – particularly when new or updated versions are published – can be recorded in your CPD portfolio and counted as part of the four hours of mandatory CPD that must be done each year.

The revised registration standards and commencement dates are:

  • recency of practice from 1 December 2015
  • continuing professional development (CPD) from 1 December 2015, and
  • professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements from 1 July 2016.

The recency of practice registration standard has changes which include the following:

  • To meet this registration standard you must have practised as an osteopath in your current domain of practice for at least 450 hours in the previous three years. This is an increase from the current 400 hours.
  • You don’t need to meet this registration standard if you are a recent graduate applying for registration for the first time within 12 months of completing an approved program of study. This is a change from six months.
  • You should now retain records as evidence that you meet the requirements of this standard for five years in case you are audited.
  • The ‘clinical practice’ definition has been expanded to include the following words in italics: ‘means direct clinical care or oversight of direct clinical care of patients, using the current knowledge, skills and attitudes of the osteopathic profession, whether remunerated or not, and regardless of job title’.

The CPD registration standard has had some small revisions – to meet this registration standard, you must:

  • continue to complete a minimum of 25 hours of CPD per year, which includes four hours of mandatory topics approved by the Board
  • continue to hold a current senior first aid certificate at the minimum standard of a Senior First Aid (level 2) certificate or equivalent, and
  • now keep your records for five years.


1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory. 

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Revised CPD guidelines now in effect

The Board’s revised CPD guidelines came into effect at the same time as the CPD registration standard on 1 December 2015.

The most important change is that osteopaths will no longer be required to complete an annual refresher of CPR, but will still have to refresh the senior first aid certificate at the minimum standard of a Senior First Aid (level 2) every three years.

In each 12-month CPD cycle, you must complete the following mandatory activity, which is to undertake at least four hours’ CPD on any combination of one or more of the following topics from the refreshed list:

  • Osteopathy Board of Australia registration standards, codes and guidelines and overview of the National Law, particularly when new or updated versions are published
  • advertising a regulated health service and social media policy (added to list on 1 December 2015)
  • evidence-based practice (added to list on 1 December 2015)
  • risk management
  • record keeping
  • informed consent
  • effective communication
  • professional boundaries, and
  • confidentiality and privacy

The Board expects you to cover different mandatory topics from year to year.

At the back of the revised guidelines are template CPD portfolio forms to assist practitioners to plan and regularly record their CPD activities. These templates are now available in Word and can be filled out and stored electronically or in hard copy. CPD records must now be kept for five years.

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PII arrangements from 1 July 2016

The Board has published the revised Professional indemnity insurance arrangements registration standard which will take effect on 1 July 2016. The revised registration standard and a fact sheet are published on the Board’s website under Registration standards.

The Board also has a news item on the website which explains the main changes, when these will come into effect, and when the obligations will need to be met.

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Additional resources on the revised standards

The standards were revised after a scheduled review, which included public consultation. The Board publishes the submissions to the public consultation on the Past consultations web page. Three registration standards for registered osteopaths were revised by the Board and approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (AHWMC) on 27 August 2015.

The following additional resources about the revised standards are available on the AHPRA Registration standards pages for CPDrecency of practice and PII.

  • Consultation reports on:
    • continuing professional development
    • recency of practice
    • professional indemnity insurance arrangements, and
  • common FAQs and timetable for standards to take effect.

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Welcome to new graduates who are registering and working for the first time in 2016

We have a graduate video that has been published recently by the Board. It outlines what graduates need to do before they can register and practise as osteopaths, and what they need to do to renew their registration each year once they are registered.

The Board has also published a PowerPoint, Osteopathy registration: what you need to know. It explains in further detail the information touched on in the video. This video and other information for students and graduates is available on the Student registration page of the Board’s website.

The video can be watched on YouTube.

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Is your advertising compliant?

Please check your advertising messages by reading the Board’s bulletin on advertising compliance, published in June 2015, and the Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services. The Osteopathy Board has developed materials for practitioners to use and for the public to read about responsible advertising of osteopathy services

Reading about advertising regulation can count towards the four hours of mandatory CPD and will help you remain compliant.

In 2014/15 there were 24 advertising complaints about osteopathy services made to AHPRA and the Board.

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Osteopathy registration renewal

Renewal of registration for osteopaths ended on 31 December 2015. Of the 98.34% of practitioners who renewed, 97.6% did so online. This high rate of online renewal reflects the trend for all renewing practitioners across the National Scheme.

The Board will publish its next quarterly data update in March. For previous updates on the registered workforce, see the Board’s Statistics page.

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National Scheme news

New video outlines objectives and role of the National Scheme

A new video and an accompanying infographic explaining the Australia-wide scheme that is in place to protect members of the public has recently been launched by AHPRA.

Working in partnership with the 14 National Boards, AHPRA helps regulate Australia’s 630,000-plus registered health practitioners through a national scheme.

The video explains how the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme) works and how patients are protected.

Both resources are available on the What we do page of the AHPRA website. The video can also be watched on AHPRA’s YouTube channel.

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National Scheme annual report now available

The 2014/15 annual report of AHPRA and the National Boards has been published.

The report details the work of the National Boards and AHPRA in implementing the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme over the 12 months to 30 June 2015.

There are now more than 637,218 health practitioners registered to practise in Australia, from 14 different professions, representing overall growth of 2.9% over the past year.

The report is available on AHPRA’s Annual report mini-site

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Employer obligations: new awareness campaign

AHPRA has published a news item that outlines employers’ obligations, and has advertisements running on LinkedIn and Facebook. This is the first step in the campaign, with many more activities to follow, including direct mail, paid print advertising, and in-language advertising (for the public campaign).

The campaign will be rolled out in stages and has three target audiences and objectives:

  1. Employers – check the register before employing someone, keep up to date with changes to registrations and make mandatory reports when required.
  2. Practitioners – know your obligations as a registered health practitioner.
  3. Public – check to see if your practitioner is registered. 

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National drug screening protocol in place from November 2015

There are health practitioners with a history of substance misuse who have restrictions placed on their registration. These restrictions are generally designed to keep the public safe while the practitioner remains in practice.

When restrictions are placed on a health practitioner’s registration, AHPRA monitors the practitioner to make sure they are complying with the restrictions. This process is referred to as ‘monitoring and compliance’.

From November 2015, all health practitioners who have restrictions placed on their registration by the Board as a result of past substance misuse will have routine quarterly hair testing, in addition to random urine testing. Routine hair testing provides additional information about the use of a wide range of drugs, over a longer time period. It therefore provides greater assurance to the Board that the practitioner is not impaired as a result of ongoing substance misuse.

More information is available in the AHPRA news item.

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Contact the Board

  • Visit the Osteopathy Board 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 online enquiry form via the website by following the enquiries link on every web page under Contact us.
  • For registration enquiries, call the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on 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 online services section on the AHPRA website.
  • Address mail correspondence to: Dr Nikole Grbin, Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 9/02/2016