Osteopathy Board of Australia - September 2022
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September 2022

Issue 34 – September 2022

Chair’s message

Nikole Grbin Osteopathy Board chair


Welcome to our new-look newsletter.

We have seen a sharp increase in cases of osteopaths failing to hold professional indemnity insurance (PII) so this month we take a closer look at this registration requirement.

Are you interested in joining the Board? Pam Dennis, Andrew Yaksich and I are on our last terms on the Board. On 1 October there will be advertisements for Board Chair and practitioner members from Vic, SA and either one of the smaller jurisdictions of Tas, ACT or NT. Early next year there will be an advertisement for WA and NSW practitioner members. These appointments are decided by Ministerial Council. Please look out for the advertisements on Ahpra’s Statutory appointments page and consider applying or alerting your colleagues – being involved in regulation can be a very rewarding experience: see our profile of Board member Paul Orrock below.

Dr Nikole Grbin
Chair, Osteopathy Board of Australia

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Priority news

Cosmetic surgery complaints hotline now open

Patients who have been harmed by cosmetic surgery can now report their concerns to a hotline. The hotline is part of the response by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia to the Independent review into the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.

Key points

  • A hotline for cosmetic surgery complaints is now open on 1300 361 041. It will be operated during business hours by a specialised team within Ahpra.
  • The hotline will make it safer for patients too scared to otherwise report harm. They can do that confidentially if they choose.
  • It will also make it easier for practitioners to make mandatory or voluntary notifications as required when they know about significantly unsafe practice.
  • It is one of the actions Ahpra and the Medical Board committed to following the release of the independent review into cosmetic surgery’s report on 1 September.

The specialised team is supporting the newly established Cosmetic Surgery Enforcement Unit. This team understands the challenges for patients who are unsure about whether to report their experiences and where to report their experiences. The team can help them to share relevant information and guide them through the process.

Read more in the news item.

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Board news

Professional indemnity insurance – make sure you’re covered!

The Board is strongly encouraging all osteopaths to check your professional indemnity insurance (PII) policies. This request comes following a spike in the number of cases concerning non-compliance with PII discovered during routine audits earlier this year.

You are required to hold appropriate PII to practise as an osteopath – it’s a requirement of the National Law and an important part of keeping the public safe.

Not holding PII can be considered professional misconduct and in some cases can lead to a disciplinary tribunal which could affect your registration and ability to practise.

Registration renewal is coming up in November and you’ll need to declare you hold PII

Before you make this declaration, the Board suggests you:

  • Check your PII coverage – is it current? Is it at an appropriate level?
  • If you have staff who are osteopaths, make sure they’re covered.
  • Set yourself a reminder for when your policy is due to be renewed.
  • If you’re a graduate, get your PII sorted out before you start practising.

What if you find out you’re not appropriately covered?

Note that if you have a gap in PII and fail to notify Ahpra at the time but instead declare the gap later, you will have failed to comply with your obligations under the National Law.

Many of the PII problems we’ve come across are avoidable. If you’ve changed your credit card or bank details, or your contact details such as email address or phone number, check in with your provider to make sure your details with them are up to date. Remember to keep your PII certificate of currency.

If you are uncertain about the PII you need, seek professional advice from an insurance broker or legal advisor.

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Code of conduct for osteopaths now in effect

The revised Code of conduct (the code) for osteopaths came into effect on 29 June 2022, with resources to help osteopaths understand and apply the code also published. To read the code please visit the Shared Code of conduct page on the Ahpra website.

An important revision to note is the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and cultural safety, a new section to the code. This includes the National Scheme’s definition of cultural safety as well as guidance on how you can ensure culturally safe and respectful practice. This inclusion highlights the important role osteopaths have in achieving equity in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians to close the gap.

The Board is also pleased with the inclusion of information on bullying and harassment. The revised code includes guidance about the role of the Board in matters of bullying and harassment, information about practitioners’ responsibilities in these situations and the importance of addressing the issue in the workplace.

To support you in understanding and applying the code, there are supporting resources which include a series of frequently asked questions, and case studies which look at how the code could be applied in practice scenarios. National Boards have also developed a Code of conduct principles document as well as a one-page summary of the code which we encourage you to print and place somewhere visible. You can find these resources on the Resources to help health practitioners page.

National Boards have also developed resources to help the public understand the code and the standards of conduct the public can expect from osteopaths. Some case studies and a short summary of what the code is can be found on the Resources for the public page. The summary of the code has been made available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Greek, Italian and Vietnamese. These can be found on our Translations page, along with other information in these languages.

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English language skills – additional test approved

The Board temporarily accepts the Occupational English Test (OET) as an additional option for a test under the English language skills (ELS) registration standard. These tests can be either remote proctored OET computer and at-home version, or the OET paper-based version.

Currently, as stated in the ELS registration standard, there is no osteopathy-specific OET. The Board has agreed that, while the temporary acceptance is in place, an OET test for any other registered health profession under the National Scheme (e.g. physiotherapy, nursing) that meets the OET test requirements and all other requirements set out in the standard will meet the Board’s ELS requirements for registration.

This information may be useful for overseas trained osteopaths or international students who are considering registering as an osteopath in Australia. The ELS registration standard is under review. We anticipate that the acceptance of OET results for another registered health profession will be incorporated in the revised registration standard for osteopaths once it is approved by Ministerial Council.

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Graduates – apply for registration now!

Osteopathy graduates set to complete their course in the next three months can take the first step in their new career by applying for registration now. Applying before you finish your studies means we can start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

Registration with the Board is required before you can start work – and means you can work anywhere in Australia.

You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website. On that page, you can watch our video, Applying for graduate registration, and check out the accompanying flyer, Quick guide: how to apply.

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Meet your Board

Board members meet in person in Brisbane

In July the whole Board met in person for the first time after almost 30 months of virtual meetings, and we have a photo as proof! We are fortunate to have a mix of new and long-term members of the Board, meaning we have widespread experience and a smooth succession.

Board member positions for the next three-year term will be advertised soon. Please look out for the advertisements on Ahpra’s Statutory appointments page and consider applying or alerting your colleagues.

Image of Osteopathy Board members


Left to right: Andrew Yaksich, Pam Dennis, Robyn Davis, Tim McNamara, Bec Malon, Julia Duffy, Nikole Grbin, Paul Orrock. 

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Profile: Paul Orrock, practitioner member from New South Wales

Image of Paul Orrock OsteoBA 

Associate Professor Paul Orrock was first appointed to the Osteopathy Board of Australia in 2017. We asked Paul to tell us about his background, role as a practitioner member and vision for the profession.

What is your experience and background?

I originally trained and practised as a registered nurse in hospitals in Sydney, a wonderful experience in being faced with raw humanity and person-centred care. Some time later, I was fortunate to be introduced to and studied osteopathic medicine at a time when there were very few registered osteopaths in Australia and the training was still in private colleges. We were mentored by passionate and committed practitioners who had a vision of osteopathy becoming known and respected. I graduated with a Diploma of Osteopathy – having to sit the horrendous two weeks of the NSW Board registration exams. I have had a private practice as a registered osteopath since 1988.

When the training moved to university, I took up an academic position at RMIT and have since taught and researched at Victoria University and Southern Cross University, where I established the program. From the highly clinically focused diploma days, I became fascinated by the research process, and gained a MSc (Research) from Victoria University for a study of gait biomechanics.

Then I completed a PhD at Southern Cross University, for which I developed an authentic model of osteopathic healthcare and a plan for establishing evidence for its application in chronic musculoskeletal pain.

I am a passionate teaching scholar and developed problem/case-based learning subjects during in my Graduate Certificate of Higher Education.

What attracted you to the role of practitioner member on the Board?

Standing on the shoulders of those early mentors who kept the profession going in the early days, I committed to serve the profession in leadership roles including for Osteopathy Australia, government enquiries and in clinical and educational research. I recognise that the regulatory function is an absolutely vital aspect in the maturing of a health profession, and this is especially true with regard to its reputation and relationship with the public.

The profession is small and growing with a loyal support base, but I am motivated to ensure osteopathy stands equal to all health professions in terms of its professionalism, quality and safety of service to the public. I see this role on the Board as an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary collegiality, and this has proven true in the various committees on which I have served.

What do you bring to the Board?

I have a solid grasp of what constitutes osteopathic healthcare after more than 30 years as a practitioner and 25 years as a teacher, and having also researched it from the coalface. Being experienced in both the clinical and educational aspects of this profession gives me a 360-degree view, which I hope assists my fellow Board members in making balanced, informed decisions. I also bring the experience of hospital medicine through my earlier career in acute care nursing and this gives me a multidisciplinary experience and respectful awareness of the public mainstream of healthcare.

What is the main focus of the Board for 2022?

The Board is focused on strengthening our relationships with the national and international profession, the accrediting body, the education providers and the other Boards in the National Scheme. We are also fully engaged in applying policies for cultural safety, continuing education and supervision, and reviewing the assessment of qualifications of overseas applicants.

What are you passionate about?

I have loved being a health practitioner since I was fresh out of school and have been fortunate to have discovered and followed a deeply satisfying pathway in this vocation. I am totally dedicated to healthcare for all and committed to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. When I am not practising, teaching and researching (and diving into meeting packs), I sing and play guitar in a rock band (shouting) and solo (crooning), surf badly and manage stress by hitting balls around courts and grassy fairways.

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Registration news

Fees set for 2022/23

The Board has set registration fees for 2022/23 at $399 in line with indexation. The annual renewal fee applies from 22 September 2022 and for most practitioners covers the registration period of 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023. In NSW, the registration fee is $461.

Graduates who apply for general registration for the first time will pay an application fee and a registration fee. Then in the following years it is only the registration fee. See information about fees on the Board’s Registration page.

Latest registration data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data report covers the period 1 April to 30 June 2022. At that date, there were 3,147 registered osteopaths nationally. Of these, 3,003 had general registration, three had provisional registration and 141 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?

New Resources web hub makes it easier to find information

A new hub on the Ahpra website makes it easier to find helpful resources.

The Resources hub aims to support professional practice and help patients make safer health choices.

The hub includes information on requirements for advertising, social media, cosmetics, supervised practice and more. Information for practitioners and the public is clustered according to useful topics, to make it easier to find.

Latest podcasts – listen up!

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. We also publish transcripts of our podcasts. Recent episodes include:

  • the inextricable link between climate change and healthcare
  • physiotherapy and person-centred care
  • the unique world of rural and remote healthcare
  • accessing safe healthcare when cost is an issue
  • two conversations about caring for the LGBTIQA+ community, from the perspectives of patients and of practitioners
  • safe healthcare for people experiencing homelessness
  • safe healthcare for refugee and asylum seeker communities
  • openness and candour – a road to greater patient safety.

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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National Scheme news

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

National Scheme news banner graphic 

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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 web page 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.

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Page reviewed 29/09/2022