Issue 28 – March 2022
As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board once again thanks podiatrists and podiatric surgeons for their resilience and professionalism over the last two difficult and challenging years. We encourage you to continue to take care of yourselves and each other and please seek support if you need it.
A reminder that the professional capabilities for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons are now in effect and the Board expects that you will use them to reflect on your practice and identify any areas where you need to update your knowledge and skills. You can read more about this below.
Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia
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In December 2021, Australian Health Ministers announced the appointment of members to the Podiatry Board of Australia. The appointments were for a term of three years.
Associate Professor Cylie Williams, practitioner member from Victoria has been reappointed as Chair of the Board.
The following members have been reappointed:
The following new members have been appointed:
We acknowledge and thank outgoing members Dr Paul Bennett (practitioner member) and Dr Janice Davies OAM (community member) for their valuable contribution and commitment to the regulation of the podiatry profession during their time on the Board.
The full list of members is on the Board's website.
A full list of appointments for the National Boards is in the Health Ministers’ meeting communiqué available on the Ahpra website.
The Board is seeking applications from suitably qualified and experienced registered podiatrists and podiatric surgeons for appointment to its Registration and Notifications Committee (the RNC).
The role of the RNC is to make decisions about individual registration and notification matters, based on the national standards and policies and set by the Board. The Board has delegated the necessary powers to the RNC to enable it to carry out these functions.
The National Scheme has a commitment to increasing Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ leadership and voices. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are warmly invited to apply, as are people from rural or regional areas in Australia.
To view the vacancy and submit an application, please visit the Committee member recruitment page.
For general enquiries, please email email@example.com.
Applications close on Sunday 27 March 2022 at 11:55pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time.
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The Board’s new professional capabilities for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons came into effect on 1 January 2022.
Our professional capabilities clearly articulate what is expected of contemporary podiatry and podiatric surgery practice in Australia, in all areas of practice. They are relevant to all clinical and non-clinical roles.
The capabilities also recognise cultural safety as a key component of safe healthcare, particularly with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Like all National Boards, we want to see the vision of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Statement of Intent realised, that ‘patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is the norm’ and we consider this an important step in that direction for the profession.
The professional capabilities identify the knowledge, skills and professional attributes you need to practise safely and competently. They describe the threshold or minimum level of professional capability needed for registration as a podiatrist or podiatric surgeon.
You can find them on the Professional capabilities page, and we have also published FAQs to support practitioners and stakeholders to understand them.
Please use the professional capabilities when planning your professional development activities. You can use them to reflect on your practice; identify any areas in which your knowledge and skills may not meet the minimum level of capability; and develop and implement your CPD learning plan to address any gaps.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of providing safe and effective podiatry services. It is how we, as registered health practitioners maintain, improve and broaden our knowledge, expertise and competence, and continue to develop the personal and professional qualities required throughout our professional lives.
As mentioned above, the professional capabilities will help you to reflect on your practice and plan your professional development activities for this year.
Our Continuing professional development (CPD) learning plan can also help you with planning your CPD. You can find it on the CPD resources page, together with the CPD registration standard and guidelines and other resources.
The last part of the annual CPD cycle is to reflect on the value of your learning activities to check that you have achieved your learning goals. This cycle of lifelong learning ensures our knowledge and skill sets are up to date so we can deliver the best possible care to the Australian public.
It is important that your CPD is relevant to your scope of practice and if your registration is endorsed for scheduled medicines, this includes activities relevant to your endorsement.
A profession-specific annual report summary that looks into the work of the Podiatry Board over the 12 months to 30 June 2021 is published on our Annual report page.
The report draws on data from the Annual report 2020/21 by Ahpra and the National Boards and includes the number of applications for registration, outcomes of practitioner audits and segmentation of the registrant base by gender, age and principal place of practice.
Notifications information includes the number of complaints or concerns received, matters opened and closed during the year, types of complaint, monitoring and compliance and matters involving immediate action.
Insights into the profession include:
Note: in the data above, ‘podiatrists’ includes podiatric surgeons.
The Supervised practice framework (the framework), developed by the Podiatry Board of Australia along with 12 other National Boards and Ahpra, is in effect.
The framework outlines the National Boards’ expectations and supports supervisees, supervisors and employers to understand what is necessary to effectively carry out supervised practice. The framework also includes the principles that underpin supervised practice and the levels of supervised practice.
To support supervisees, supervisors and employers to understand and apply the framework, the National Boards and Ahpra have developed a set of frequently asked questions and two key-steps diagrams. The diagrams outline the key steps of supervised practice for registration requirements or suitability and eligibility requirements and for supervised practice following a complaint (notification).
The National Boards have also developed a Fact sheet: Supervised practice – transition arrangements to support the transition arrangements in place for supervises and supervisors who are already carrying out supervised practice or who sent documents to Ahpra or the Board before 1 February 2022 (the date of effect).
The framework and additional information can be found on the Supervised practice page.
The Podiatry Board and other National Boards are aware that many English language tests have been temporarily disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and applicants for registration may have had difficulty accessing tests.
Acknowledging the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, National Boards have approved a temporary policy position that means the following English language tests will be accepted for applications open or received from 21 February 2022:
All other requirements as set out in the Podiatry Board’s English language skills registration standard will still apply, please see the English language skills FAQs for more information. There are no changes to any other requirements in the standards such as minimum test scores.
For more information and links, see the news item.
The Board’s latest quarterly registration data has been released. The report covers 1 October to 31 December 2021. At this date, there were:
For more details, including registration data by principal place of practice, age and gender, visit our Statistics page.
We welcome our new podiatry graduates to the profession. We have published a short video to delve into what it means now you’re registered.
You’ll hear from the Chair of the Board, two practitioner members and a community member.
In the video you can find out more about the role of the Board, the importance of meeting the standards for registration each year, and how to stay connected with the Board and the profession as you continue your lifelong, reflective learning as a registered podiatrist.
Watch the video to find out more.
Recently, there’s been some debate about protected titles and how they work to protect the public. Ahpra and the National Boards provide the following guidance to help inform the discussion.
In Australia, the titles of registered health professions are 'protected' by law. This is important because they can act as a sort of shorthand for patients and consumers. When someone uses a protected title (for example, ‘podiatrist'), you can expect that person is appropriately trained and qualified in that profession, registered, and that they are expected to meet safe and professional standards of practice.
The protected titles under the National Law can be accessed on the Ahpra FAQs page.
Medicine, dentistry and podiatry also have approved specialist titles for their professions. This means that a practitioner who uses these titles to describe themselves has additional training and qualifications in a specialty field. For example, a podiatrist who has additional training and qualifications in podiatric surgery and meets the requirements for specialist registration can use the protected title ‘podiatric surgeon’.
Cosmetic surgery is different because the title ‘cosmetic surgeon’ is not a protected title and cosmetic surgery is not a recognised medical speciality. This may be confusing for patients and people may reasonably expect anyone who uses the title ‘surgeon’ to have had additional training and qualifications and hold specialist registration.
Health Ministers are currently consulting on whether ‘surgeon’ should be a protected title under the National Law, and in what specialties it should apply, or if other changes should be made to help the public better understand the qualifications of medical practitioners. For more information on the consultation, visit: https://engage.vic.gov.au/medical-practitioners-use-title-surgeon-under-national-law.
Read the news item for more details on this topic.
The public consultation for the Independent review of the regulation of health practitioners in cosmetic surgery is now open.
The review, commissioned by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia, is being led by former Queensland Health Ombudsman Andrew Brown, supported by an expert panel.
The review is particularly interested in understanding whether there are any barriers to consumers, practitioners or their employees raising concerns about unsafe practice or unsatisfactory outcomes. It is also examining how best Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia should manage concerns when they are raised, and what information consumers should be given that may influence informed decision-making.
The consultation paper, including consultation questions, is available on the Independent review page on the Ahpra website.
Practitioners can contribute by emailing their submission, marked 'Submission to the independent review on cosmetic surgery,' to CSReview@ahpra.gov.au.
There is a survey for consumers to easily share their experiences.
The consultation ends on 14 April 2022.
The Independent Reviewer expects to report his findings by mid-2022.
There is further information, including FAQs, on the review website.
In the latest episode of Taking care, we explore workplace culture in healthcare through a safety lens. What is the best approach to support a practitioner’s professional practice to ensure patient safety? How do we regulate when honest errors occur in a workplace environment?
It’s so much easier to blame an individual when something goes wrong than to do the hard work to really understand why something happened and put it right. The problem with blame culture is it drives problems underground, say our guests. They acknowledge the challenge in creating workplaces that encourage candour by practitioners and patients, to ensure patient safety.
Read more about the podcast and follow the link to listen.
Ahpra releases a new Taking care episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. Download and listen today. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.