Osteopathy Board of Australia - 2020/21 annual summary
Look up a health practitioner


Check if your health practitioner is qualified, registered and their current registration status

2020/21 annual summary


  • 2,951 osteopaths
    • Up 7.2% from 2019/20
    • 0.4% of all registered health practitioners
  • 0.8% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 54.6% female; 45.4% male


Age: <25 = 4.6%, 25 to 34 = 39.9%, 35 to 44 = 29.8%, 45 to 54 = 14.6%, 55 to 64 = 6.9%, 65 to 74 = 3.7%, >75 = 0.5%



  • 22 notifications lodged with Ahpra
    • 30 registered osteopaths Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data, had notifications made about them
    • 1.0% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: Patient, relative or member of the public 63.6%, HCE 9.1%, Employer 4.5%, Other 22.7%

  • 3 immediate actions taken

  • 1 mandatory notification received

Most common types of complaints

Most common types of complaints: Clinical care 27.3%, Communication 9.1%, Documentation 9.1%, Health impairment 4.5%, Boundary violation 4.5%, Offence against other law 4.5%, Confidentiality 4.5%, Other 36.4%

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 19 notifications closed, 10.5% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 5.3% received a caution or reprimand, 5.3% referred to another body, 78.9% no further action


  • 10 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year
  • cases being monitored at 30 June:
    • 5 for conduct
    • 1 for health reasons
    • 1 for prohibited practitioner/student
    • 6 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Criminal offence complaints

  • 4 criminal offence complaints made
    • 3 about title protection
    • 1 about advertising breaches
  • 5 were closed

Referred to an adjudication body

  • No matters decided by a tribunal
  • No matters decided by a panel
  • No appeals

A report from the Chair

Issues this year

The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily changed the way we work as a Board. All Board and stakeholder meetings were held via Zoom, and face-to-face events, which had previously been well-attended in capital cities, have been suspended until travel and public events are safe. Conversely, it has been easier to attend regular Think Tank virtual meetings of osteopathy stakeholders from across Australia. Communication with registrants on social media and video continues to have very high open and click-through rates.

Regulatory response to COVID-19

During the year, the Board continued to contact registrants directly by newsletters and email with information about the impact of COVID-19 and the regulatory response for osteopaths, including some extensions of regulatory requirements and introducing hardship provisions for fees.

Standards and guidelines

The Board carried out a joint public consultation with other National Boards on the review of the shared Code of conduct; and was also involved in the release of the revised Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service with other Boards.


The Australian Osteopathic Accreditation Council (AOAC) consulted in three stages and presented the Osteopathic accreditation standards to the Board for approval. The major changes are: adopting a five-domain framework; including English language proficiency as a requirement for entry to an education program; and increasing emphasis on cultural safety that is integrated throughout the revised standards. The revised Osteopathic accreditation standards (2021) were approved by the Board in June.

The AOAC also developed an essential evidence guide for accreditation. The AOAC reviewed the Standard pathway assessment for registration in Australia (SPA) and the changes were approved by the Board in April. The revised Standard pathway assessment contains newly formatted assessments and examinations that have greater alignment to contemporary assessment practices and are more accessible for candidates to undergo. Further information about these assessments is on the AOAC website.

Stakeholder engagement


The Osteopathy Think Tank is organised by the Osteopathy Association, which holds meetings every two to three months with stakeholders regarding issues, updates, projects and information sharing. The Board and Ahpra have supplied registration growth and attrition data.

As Chair, I presented information on regulation and Board requirements for registration to final-year students in the osteopathy programs by online presentations.


I attended the annual Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) Annual General Meeting, which was held virtually this year, and I continue as a member of the Public Relations Committee of the OIA. We celebrated International Osteopathic Healthcare Week in early May after it was postponed last year.

Dr Nikole Grbin

Page reviewed 22/11/2022