Podiatry Board of Australia - March 2022

March 2022


 Issue 28 – March 2022


From the Chair

Photo of Cylie Williams

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.

Cylie Williams
Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia

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Board news

Appointments to the Podiatry Board of Australia

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:

  • Ms Julia Kurowski, practitioner member from Western Australia
  • Dr Kristy Robson, practitioner member from New South Wales
  • Ms Shellee Smith, community member
  • Mrs Kathryn ‘Kate’ Storer, practitioner member from Australian Capital Territory
  • Mr Andrew van Essen, practitioner member from South Australia

The following new members have been appointed:

  • Ms Raelene Harrison, community member
  • Mr Anthony Short, practitioner member from Queensland

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.

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Interested in joining the Board’s Registration and Notifications Committee?

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 statutoryappointments@ahpra.gov.au.

Applications close on Sunday 27 March 2022 at 11:55pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time.

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New professional capabilities are in effect

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.

How do I use the new capabilities?

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.

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Have you started planning your CPD activities for this year?

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.

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Podiatry regulation at work: protecting the public in 2020/21

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:

Registration

  • 5,783 podiatrists, up 3.1% from 2019/20
  • 0.7% of all registered health practitioners
  • 0.8% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 59% female; 41% male

Notifications

  • 63 registered podiatrists Australia-wide had notifications made about them
  • 1.1% of the profession
  • more than half of the notifications (53.5%) were made by a patient, relative or member of the public
    the most common types of complaints were about clinical care (41.9%), followed by breach of non-offence provision – National Law (11.6%), communication (7%), offence against other law (7%), health impairment (4.7%) and confidentiality (4.7%).

Note: in the data above, ‘podiatrists’ includes podiatric surgeons.

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Registration news

Supervised practice framework now in effect

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.

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Temporary acceptance of additional English language tests effective 21 February 2022

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:

  • the OET computer-based test and the OET@home test for applications received until 21 February 2023, and
  • the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition for applications received until 1 June 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.

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Latest workforce data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data has been released. The report covers 1 October to 31 December 2021. At this date, there were:

  • 5,989 registered practitioners (including 83 podiatrists on the pandemic response sub-register)
  • 5,785 with general registration as a podiatrist
  • 39 with both general and specialist registration as a podiatric surgeon
  • 165 non-practising registrants, and
  • 176 practitioners with registration endorsed for scheduled medicines.

For more details, including registration data by principal place of practice, age and gender, visit our Statistics page.

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Students and graduates

Welcome to new podiatry graduates

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.

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National Scheme news

What’s the point of protected titles?

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.

What is a protected title?

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.

What are protected specialist titles?

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’.

What about cosmetic surgery?

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.

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Have your say: consultation opens for cosmetic surgery review

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.

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Latest podcast: Tackling the blame culture to improve patient safety – is it possible?

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.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit www.podiatryboard.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 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • To update your contact details for important registration renewal emails and other Board updates, go to the Ahpra website: Update contact details.
  • Address mail correspondence to A/Prof. Cylie Williams, Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 10/03/2022