New regulatory videos to support registered physiotherapists

 

A new video series has been launched to support patients and physiotherapists when a concern is raised.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has launched a ‘Let’s talk about it’ series of videos to support the public and registered health practitioners as they go through the notification process.

The latest video is a first-hand account of a practitioner’s experience of what it is like to be the subject of a notification with the regulator. The practitioner featured agreed to participate to share her experience and reflections with other practitioners in her situation.

This video was developed based on feedback from practitioners and advice from professional associations and other stakeholders. It follows three other videos in the series, which look at the process from other perspectives including the notifier.

AHPRA has gathered feedback from notifiers and practitioners about what it is like to go through the notifications process. After 80 interviews and more than 5000 survey responses, a small number of consistent themes have emerged as important factors for notifiers and practitioners.

‘Being the subject of a notification can be a very stressful time. Practitioners are telling us that having a support network around them is essential. The more practitioners can share their experience, and the tools that helped them, the better we can support others in what may be one of their toughest experiences,’ Physiotherapy Board of Australia Chair Kim Gibson said.

While many practitioners fear the process, data from AHPRA’s 2017–18 Annual Report shows less than one per cent of notifications about practitioners resulted in their registration being cancelled or suspended. More than 70 per cent of notifications resulted in no further action by the relevant Board.

For physiotherapists specifically, 98 notifications were lodged with AHPRA in the 2017–18 financial year. That is 0.5 per cent of all registered physiotherapists that had notifications made about them. Eighty-two notifications were closed in that time with less than a quarter resulting in a follow-up, or conditions being imposed on a physiotherapist’s registration.

The Board can only deal with concerns about the conduct and health of registered practitioners. When they receive a notification that falls outside of this, they do their best to direct the notifier towards the complaints entity who will be able to help them.

Data shows that the number of notifications are very low for physiotherapists, despite an overall increase in notifications across the 16 health professions. Around 70 per cent of notifications result in no further action. ‘All physiotherapists should be prepared for a notification being made about them at some time during their careers. Our understanding of the practitioner’s experience is growing and what we’ve heard from people who have been through the process highlights the importance of talking about it, as a profession, to reduce the perceived stigma and stress. We are working on resources to support and encourage practitioners through a necessary, though often difficult, process,’ Kim added. Health practitioners and their support networks are encouraged to use this new resource when they are involved in the notifications process.

For more information visit the Board’s website at physiotherapyboard.gov.au. For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or 03 9275 9009 (for overseas callers). Address mail correspondence to: Kim Gibson, Chair, Physiotherapy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

 

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