Osteopathy Board of Australia - March 2023
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March 2023

Issue 35 – March 2023

Chair’s message

Image of Nikole Grbin 

This year we start off with a refreshed Osteopathy Board of Australia website and a successful registrant breakfast in Adelaide. What a great way to kick off.

The Board enjoyed the opportunity to meet registrants face to face. Thanks to those of you who came to the Adelaide forum. We will be holding more this year.

I want to highlight the current Board member recruitment campaign for a WA and NSW practitioner member. If you’re interested in regulation and passionate about protecting the public, please consider applying. Board member appointments are decided by the Ministerial Council and applications close on 10 April 2023. If it’s not for you, but you have a colleague you think might be interested, let them know.

We continue to see too many osteopaths failing to hold professional indemnity insurance. This is a serious oversight; please confirm that your policy is current – check your emails and bank account today.

We are also seeing a worrying trend in advertising breaches, read more below.

Dr Nikole Grbin
Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia

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Priority news

Advertising – osteopaths are not specialists and do not specialise

Responsible advertising about regulated health services helps to keep the public safe from false or misleading claims and supports the public to make informed choices about their healthcare.

Since 2020, health practitioners have been asked to declare that, if they advertise, their advertising meets the advertising requirements of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law). Over the past two years Ahpra has conducted random audits of practitioner advertising.

For osteopathy, the audit identified that 93% of practitioners had some form of online advertising and 47% of practitioners had one or more breaches of the advertising rules.

The most common breaches related to use of specialist terms. Osteopaths are not permitted to call themselves a specialist or state that they specialise in a specific field or service as this is likely to imply that they hold specialist registration with the Board.

The following examples may be considered false and misleading:

  • osteopathic specialist
  • specialising in sports injury
  • specialising in kids/children/paediatric
  • specialising in treating specific disorders.

We encourage you to use the self-assessment tool on our advertising hub to ensure your advertising is compliant with the National Law. We have also developed specific examples for osteopaths.

Ahpra will be conducting follow-up audits this year. Practitioners who continue to breach the advertising rules may be subject to regulatory action such as caution, conditions, or criminal prosecution.

We know that health practitioners want to do the right thing and advertise responsibly. We encourage you to use the resources and information available to help ensure your advertising complies with the National Law.

Look out for further advertising updates in our newsletters. 

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Board news

Adelaide registrant forum covered a lot of ground

Image of OsteoBA forum participants

A recent information forum in Adelaide gave registrants the opportunity to talk to and hear from the Board directly. The breakfast session focused on regulation issues and helping osteopaths understand their professional obligations and how by meeting them they keep the public safe.

Board members discussed their role in setting professional standards and administering the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) with Ahpra. The Board responded to questions from attendees, covering topics as varied as workforce data and overseas pathways to registration through to advertising, professional indemnity insurance, professional capabilities, standards and guidelines.

We greatly appreciate the time everyone who attended took to come along. We will use your feedback to ensure future presentations remain relevant and useful.

New-look website homepage

You may have already noticed the refreshed design of our website homepage, which went live in February. The vibrant colours and images are designed to make the homepage more engaging, and dropdown menus at the top of each page should make it easier for people find what they’re looking for. Any links you had bookmarked will continue to work because all addresses for webpages, documents and forms remain the same.

Your thoughts on this change are important and all feedback is welcome. Please tell us what you think via this quick survey

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Registration news

Workforce: overseas practitioners and local graduates

The osteopathy workforce is disproportionately concentrated in Victoria (62%) but it is pleasing to see graduates at the end of 2022 choosing to work in other states: 13 in New South Wales, 16 in Queensland, two in Western Australia and one in Tasmania.

Also moving to these states are overseas practitioners, and recently there has been a noticeable return to pre-pandemic levels of registrations. If you are interested in our overseas pathways, please visit our Overseas qualified osteopaths page and a new webpage on the Ahpra site which contains more detailed information on the application process for international practitioners.

Established osteopaths who employ graduates and overseas qualified osteopaths greatly help increase the profession’s geographical diversity. Thank you for welcoming and supporting osteopaths new to your locality. 

Latest registration data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data report covers the period 1 October to 31 December 2022. At that date, there were 3,348 registered osteopaths nationally. Of these, 3,163 had general registration, eight had provisional registration and 177 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. 

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What’s new?

How do we prevent trust violation in healthcare?

Building trust is fundamental to safe healthcare, as is responding effectively when a practitioner breaches that core responsibility to a patient.

In the first Taking care podcast for the year we look at building trust in healthcare, how do we keep it, how can patients be better supported if things go wrong?
International guest Professor Rosalind Searle unpacks the impacts on patients when trust isn’t prioritised.

Rosalind Searle is a Professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology at the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. She is inaugural director of the European Association of Work and Organisational Psychology (EAWOP) Impact Incubator.

Pointing to examples in Australia, Professor Searle provides a guide for strengthening processes and support mechanisms to boost trust in healthcare.

Our 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

New engagement and support team to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners with their registration

Ahpra has recently established a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Support team (the support team) to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, registrants and stakeholders through the registration process.

The support team forms part of Ahpra’s commitments to providing culturally safe services to its applicants, registrants and stakeholders.

Who is it for?

The support team will focus on assisting recent applicants and new graduates who have identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander on their application form. The team’s one-on-one services range from providing helpful tips and tricks for navigating the registration process to regular phone contact, updates and advice on disclosures made on application (for example, impairments or previous criminal history) that may require consideration by the National Board.

The team plans to expand its services soon, which will include helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners with the renewals process from 2023 onwards.

What to expect?

The support team is committed to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners, including osteopaths, get registered/renewed promptly so they can focus on their contributions to safe healthcare and to their communities. Keep an eye out for regular emails from the team or reach out for help at [email protected].

If you are a current student, contact your Indigenous Student Service support centre for information. 

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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 9285 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 28/06/2023