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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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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Board has agreed to accept the following additional English language tests:
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.
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.
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:
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:
There are forms to use when making these declarations – for more information see Ahpra’s Common forms webpage.
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.
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.
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.
Other changes will help us improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme and help create a fairer system. These changes include:
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.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published a fact sheet for health professionals on medical device patient information materials. It provides an overview of:
You can find the fact sheet on the TGA website.
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.
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.
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