Osteopathy Board of Australia - June 2023
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June 2023

Issue 36 – June 2023

From the Chair

Image of Nikole Grbin

In April we welcomed our new community member, Marcella Lazarus, to the Board. Next month we will hold a forum in the Gold Coast for osteopaths in northern NSW and southern Queensland.

I have been Chair for almost nine years and as I am in the final year of my term, I’m reflecting on what an honour it has been to work in regulation during this time. We are constantly improving our standards, systems, services, and this year is no exception with improvements planned in overseas registration pathways.

I thank the Board, fellow Chairs, Ahpra staff, co-regulators and stakeholders. Osteopathy regulation is in excellent hands. It has been a pleasure and privilege working with you all to maintain high standards of osteopathic care for our patients, students, services, and community across Australia.

Dr Nikole Grbin
Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia

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Priority news

Gold Coast information forum

We look forward to meeting osteopaths from southern Qld and northern NSW at the Gold Coast information forum on 28 July 2023. These forums give osteopaths the opportunity to talk to and hear from the Board directly.

The evening session will focus on regulation issues and helping you understand your professional obligations and how by meeting them you keep the public safe.

The forum will take place at 5.30pm on 28 July at the Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University. Please open this link for more details and to register for the event.

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Board news

Meeting our NZ regulatory counterparts

In late March we met with colleagues from the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ), in Wellington. OCNZ Chair Lara Sanders is on the right in the group photo. 

OCNZ gave us a very warm welcome, we shared our current initiatives, plans and common experiences in regulation.

In the second photo are Board Chair Nikole Grbin (left) and OCNZ Chair Lara Sanders (right).

People at a board meeting table

Two women sitting at a board table




























Record management resources for osteopaths

To help you better understand and meet your health record management obligations, the Osteopathy Board has developed two new health-record management resources.

The tools include:

  • a one-page summary of the guidance about record management given in the shared Code of conduct (the code), and
  • a self-reflective tool to help assess the adequacy of record keeping and management practice.

The Managing health records – Summary of obligations aims to help you meet your health record management requirements. It summarises the information in the code about health record management requirements and brings all the guidance on record keeping and management from the code into a single document.

The Managing health records – Self-reflective tool is designed to help you reflect on your record keeping and management processes and to identify opportunities for improvement.

The Board’s expectations about maintaining health records are outlined in the Code of conduct. In addition to these requirements, osteopaths must also consider state, territory or Commonwealth legislation about health records and privacy that may apply.

The resources, along with several other resources covering a range of topics to support your practice, are available on Ahpra’s Resources page.

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New Easy English information about the shared Code of conduct is now available

New Easy English information about the shared Code of conduct is now available. This easier to understand information will help people in the community who find it hard to read and understand English know what standards of conduct they can expect from an osteopath.

The shared Code of conduct applies to osteopaths. It was updated last year to improve patient safety. As well as being a guiding document for health practitioners, the code is an important document for the public. The code outlines what the public can expect when they see a registered osteopath, including information about respect, culturally safe care, privacy and confidentiality, and communication.

As well as resources for the public, there are resources to help practitioners understand and apply the code. These resources include FAQs and case studies.

Changes to accepted English language tests for registration

The Board has recently agreed to some changes to English language tests to provide further flexibility to applicants for registration, while still protecting the public.

Occupational English test

There is currently no profession-specific occupational English test (OET) for osteopathy. The Board has agreed to accept an OET from any other profession regulated under the National Scheme that meets the requirements, as set out in the English language skills registration standard.

Additional English language tests

The Board has agreed to accept the following additional English language tests:

  • OET Computer Based Test
  • IELTS One Skill Retake.

Applicants for registration should visit the test provider’s website directly to find out more about these tests. Information about test providers is available on the Ahpra website.

This will be of particular interest to some domestic graduates and overseas-trained osteopaths who need to satisfy requirements set out in the Board’s English language skills registration standard before applying for registration for the first time in Australia.

The Board will continue to review tests as they are updated, and new ones are developed.

Students and graduates

Where to start? Try the Code of conduct

Welcome to all new osteopathy graduates and those who will finish study in July!

When you’re just getting started it may seem like there is a lot of information to get your head around. Knowing where to begin can be daunting.

With this in mind, we want to highlight and encourage you to familiarise yourself with the profession’s shared Code of conduct. The code is an important document. It provides guidance about expected standards for practitioner behaviour and conduct. In defining these expectations, it helps to keep the public safe by supporting good patient care and delivery of services.

Download the Code of conduct and read the Resources to help practitioners including helpful FAQs.

Registration news

Your professional obligations throughout the year

Renewals for osteopathy registration close each year in December. Thanks to everyone who renewed on time and especially to those who got in early. While renewal is an annual reminder, it’s important to know that under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, you have obligations throughout the year.

In addition to renewing your registration every year, the following professional obligations apply to all registered health practitioners. These include to:

  • notify Ahpra of changes to your principal place of practice, name or address within 30 days
  • meet the Board’s registration standards, codes and guidelines
  • have continuous professional indemnity insurance coverage; several cases of non-compliance are before independent tribunals and decisions will be public
  • maintain recency of practice
  • participate in and record continuing professional development activities.

There are some obligations that hopefully won’t apply to you, but it’s important to know about them in case they do. These are to:

  • make a mandatory notification (required in some limited circumstances)
  • notify Ahpra in writing within seven days if you’re charged with an offence punishable by 12 months’ jail or more, or if you have been convicted of or are the subject of a finding of guilt for an offence punishable by any term of imprisonment.

There are forms to use when making these declarations – for more information see Ahpra’s Common forms webpage.

Latest workforce data published

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data report covers the period to 31 March 2023. At that date, there were 3,311 registered osteopaths nationally. Of these, 3,156 had general registration, seven had provisional registration and 148 had non-practising registration.

For further data breakdowns by age, gender and principal place of practice, visit the Board’s Statistics page to read the report.

What’s new?

Public protection is the focus of new National Law reforms

Public protection is at the forefront in the latest round of reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

The changes started on 15 May, in all states and territories except Western Australia.

Better protecting the public from serious risk

One significant change gives Ahpra and the National Boards a new power to issue a public statement to warn the public about a serious risk from an individual – either a registered health practitioner or a person who does not hold registration but is providing a health service. Issuing a public statement means we can warn the public about a serious risk at an early stage, while we continue to investigate. There is a high threshold that must be met to use the power, which we anticipate will be used sparingly and only in exceptional cases to better protect the public.

Read more in the public statements warnings FAQs.

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme

Other changes will help us improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme and help create a fairer system. These changes include:

  • an update to our complaints process which introduces the ability to compel practitioners to provide information at an earlier point in the assessment process. This will mean we can deal with complaints more efficiently and improve the experience for both the notifier and the practitioner
  • more suitable options for National Boards to respond to practitioners who continue to practise after their registration has lapsed, and
  • improved information-sharing abilities for National Boards with relevant parties such as registered practitioners’ former employers, when necessary to alert them to potential harm to the public.

More information

Some of the changes do not apply in NSW, because of differences in how concerns are managed in that state. For example, the power to issue a public statement and the power to require information at an earlier point in the assessment process are already held by the Health Care Complaints Commission. Read more about the NSW regulators.

The changes are the latest in a wide range of reforms outlined in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022, which came into law last October.

For more information, read the news item and see the resources on the Ahpra National Law amendments webpage.

TGA fact sheet for practitioners: patient information materials on medical devices

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published a fact sheet for health professionals on medical device patient information materials. It provides an overview of:

  • the different types of patient information materials (patient information leaflets and patient implant cards)
  • when patient information must be supplied
  • how to meet the mandatory requirements for patient information, and
  • best practice requirements for patient information.

You can find the fact sheet on the TGA website.

Indigenous leader Associate Professor Carmen Parter takes on racism in healthcare

A recent podcast in Ahpra’s Taking care series is Racism makes us sick, with Associate Professor Carmen Parter discussing the impact of racism in healthcare. She points to her nursing days when there were almost no Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander faces seen working on the hospital ward and very little time given to the health needs of Indigenous people.

She talks about the cultural safety work being done and the challenges to make these policies a reality in our healthcare system.

Assoc. Prof. Parter has also seen intentional and unintentional racism in the system, which she is committed to helping reform.

'Racism makes us sick. Discrimination of all forms impacts the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ she said.

'We've seen it. We’ve felt it. But now we actually have evidence to demonstrate that is the case, and it is now time for health policymakers and services to actually do something about discrimination or prejudiced practices in the workplace.’

In her work on Indigenous health and as a member of the Ahpra Board, Assoc. Prof. Parter is rolling out culturally safe policies across health and calling for all to walk with her while tackling racism.

More podcasts available

Ahpra’s Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. Listen and subscribe by searching for 'Taking care' in your podcast player (for example Apple Podcasts or Spotify), or listen on our website.

National Scheme news

Click on the graphic below to visit the National Scheme's newsletter page and read the latest newsletter.

National Scheme news banner graphic  

Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit www.osteopathyboard.gov.au for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQs. 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 webpage under Contact us.
  • For registration enquiries, call Ahpra on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9125 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • To update your contact details, see important emails about registration renewal and get other Board updates, log in to the Ahpra portal using your User ID and password.
  • Address mail correspondence to: Dr Nikole Grbin, Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.
Page reviewed 26/06/2023