Podiatry Board of Australia - November 2021
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November 2021

 Issue 27 – November 2021

From the Chair

Photo of Cylie Williams

It’s great to see the states and territories progressively open up but at the same time, it’s important to reflect on how we continue to provide safe and effective podiatry care in a COVID-19 environment. Good practice involves keeping yourself, your staff and your patients safe.

The principles for good practice are outlined in the Board’s Code of conduct. I urge all podiatrists and podiatric surgeons to review this if you haven’t done so recently, it will help you manage access to care and how you provide it. Maintaining effective infection prevention and control to protect your patients and providing a safe working environment is also essential.

We acknowledge how difficult the last two years have been professionally and personally and once again thank you all for the work you have been doing in your private practices, aged care facilities, public health environments and educational settings.

Cylie Williams
Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia

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Board news

Online renewal for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons is open – renew by 30 November to avoid late fees

Podiatrists and podiatric surgeons have until 30 November 2021 to renew their general, specialist or non-practising registration.

The Board has once again frozen the registration fee at $378. The fee schedule is available on our Fees page.

Read the renewal FAQs on the Ahpra website for helpful tips and more information on what you need to do to renew.

We cover common questions on professional indemnity insurance, recency of practice, continuing professional development, and what to do if you have a change in your criminal history or health impairments you need to tell us about.

If your application for renewal is received by 30 November, or during the following one-month late period, you can continue practising while your application is processed.

If you don’t renew on time

If you apply to renew your registration in December, you will have to pay a late payment fee as well as the registration fee.

If you don’t apply to renew your registration by 31 December 2020, your registration will lapse. Your name will be removed from the national register of practitioners and you will not be able to practise as a podiatrist or podiatric surgeon in Australia until a new application for registration has been processed and the register is updated.

What’s different this year?

Renewal is now online only with changes to payment options

We’ve moved to online only for general, specialist and non-practising registration renewal. Over 99 per cent of health practitioners already renew online, it’s the quickest and easiest way to renew.

Renewal fees can be paid by credit/debit card. If you do not have a credit/debit card you can purchase a pre-paid debit card from various retail outlets for a nominal fee. BPay is no longer available for any profession.

Embedding cultural safety in the ways we work

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy aims to make patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples the norm. We strive to embed cultural safety in the ways we work within the National Scheme too.

From 2021, you’ll be asked if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander when you renew your registration. This will help us continue to develop culturally safe ways of working.

Advertising declaration and audit

Proactive advertising audits have now started. If you are renewing your general or specialist registration, you’ll be asked to declare that, if you are advertising health services, your advertising complies with Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) advertising requirements.

This is part of a risk-based approach to enforcing the National Law’s advertising requirements and compliance by registered health practitioners who advertise their services. This approach includes auditing health practitioners to check advertising compliance.

Continuing to support health practitioners during COVID-19

What if I can’t meet the CPD requirements because of COVID-19?

Continuing professional development is important as it helps maintain competence and supports safe and effective care.

The Board expects you to make reasonable efforts to complete your required CPD. We are aware that there are many flexible and COVID-safe options for CPD. Interactive CPD activities can be completed virtually.

However, we understand that some practitioners may have had trouble fully meeting CPD requirements, particularly any face to face requirements, due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 this year.

It’s important that you answer all questions honestly and accurately when completing your registration renewal and declare that you have not met the CPD requirements if that is the case.

The Board will not take action if you have not been able to complete CPD for the 2020–21 registration period due to the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19 and you declare on your renewal application that you have not met the CPD registration standard.

If you declare that you did not meet the standard the Board may request evidence in the future of what you have done to address any identified gaps in your CPD learning needs, such as interactive or face to face requirements.

Given the importance of CPD and the increasing availability of flexible and COVID-safe CPD options, you will be expected to fully meet CPD requirements in future and when renewing in 2022.

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Are you interested in being part of the Podiatry Accreditation Committee?

Applications are open from interested persons for appointment to the Podiatry Accreditation Committee.

The Accreditation Committee:

  • develops accreditation standards for approval by the Board
  • assesses, accredits and monitors education providers and their programs of study, and
  • makes recommendations and gives advice to the Board.

Who should apply?

Applications are sought from registered podiatrists and podiatric surgeons, educators and individuals with relevant skills and experience in the delivery of higher education, clinical teaching of students, or accreditation within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) or the health sector.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The National Scheme is committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ leadership and voices in the regulation of health professions across Australia. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with relevant skills and experience as outlined above are invited to apply.

To view the vacancies and submit an application, please visit the committee member recruitment page.

For general enquiries please email [email protected].

Applications close on Sunday 16 January 2022 at 5:00pm, AEDT.

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New professional capabilities come into effect on 1 January 2022 – make sure you’re across them

The new professional capabilities for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons come into effect on 1 January 2022.

We published the professional capabilities well in advance of them coming into effect, so you have time to get familiar with them. We also published some FAQs.

The professional capabilities describe the threshold or minimum level of professional capability needed for registration as a podiatrist or podiatric surgeon. They identify the knowledge, skills and professional attributes a podiatrist or podiatric surgeon needs to practise independently in Australia and to provide safe, high quality, culturally responsive, person-centred care throughout their career. 

Advance copy of supervised practice framework published

Twelve National Boards and Ahpra have published an advance copy of the revised Supervised practice framework. The framework has been revised to reflect a responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice across the National Scheme.

The Podiatry Board is among those implementing the framework in 2022 (although not for practitioners seeking their endorsement for scheduled medicines).

The framework comes into effect on 1 February 2022. An advance copy has been published to allow time for supervisees, supervisors, employers and others to familiarise themselves with the revised framework.

Read more in the Board’s news item

Board thanks podiatry profession for commitment during COVID-19 pandemic

The Board thanked podiatrists and podiatric surgeons for their professionalism, resilience and ongoing commitment to the foot health of all Australians during Foot Health Week in October.

You can find the Board’s message on our website.

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Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data has been released. The report covers 1 July to 30 September 2021. At this date, there were 5,867 registered practitioners (including 109 on the pandemic response sub-register):

  • 5,721 with general registration as a podiatrist, 37 with both general and specialist registration as a podiatric surgeon, and 109 non-practising registrants.
  • 167 practitioners have their 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

Graduating soon? Apply now and be ready to work

Once you are registered, you can work as a podiatrist anywhere in Australia.

Before you can start practising and using the protected title, ‘podiatrist’, you must be registered with the Podiatry Board of Australia (the Board).

If you're set to complete your course within the next three months – apply for registration now. We'll start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

How do I apply?

Create your account using the online services portal and complete your application

Upload your documents and pay the required fees. Check that you have provided all required documentation to prove you’ve met the registration standards, including certified copies of your photo ID.

Wait for your education provider to provide your graduate results to Ahpra.

Once we’ve received your graduate results from your education provider and we are satisfied that you have met all the requirements for registration, we will finalise your application.

When you are registered, we will publish your name to the Register of practitioners, and you can start working as a podiatrist!

Get your application right

Check out Ahpra’s graduate video to help you get your application right.

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.

Photo ID

It's important that you provide correctly certified photo ID documents with your application – the wording is very specific.

‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original and the photograph is a true likeness of the person presenting the document as sighted by me.’

To get it right the first time, download the guide Certifying documents and take it with you to the authorised officer.

Who can certify documents?

In addition to JPs, most registered health practitioners, public servants, teachers, lecturers and members of the legal profession can certify photographic ID documents. For the full list of authorised officers see the guide.

Meeting the Board’s registration requirements

When you apply for registration, your application is carefully assessed against the Board’s requirements for registration, which includes meeting the following registration standards:

  • English language skills, and
  • professional indemnity insurance.

You also need to tell us about any criminal history and declare any health impairments that may affect your ability to practise.

One of the requirements for registration is the completion of training that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), management of anaphylaxis and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) conducted by an approved training organisation.

The Board expects new graduates who are applying for registration this year to make reasonable efforts to complete this training. However, we understand that some of you may have trouble completing the training due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

When you apply for registration later this year you should answer all questions honestly and accurately. If you were unable to complete the training that includes CPR, management of anaphylaxis and use of an AED the Board will not take action. However, we expect you to complete the training as soon as you can.

We cannot register you until we are satisfied that you meet the requirements for registration and are suitably trained and qualified.

A short, animated video is published on the Board’s website. It outlines the standards that must be met to become registered and the professional standards expected of you in order to stay registered.

How long does it take to assess my application?

We can’t finalise your application until we receive your graduate results from your education provider.

If you’ve submitted everything you need to prove you’ve met the requirements for registration, we aim to finalise your application within two weeks of receiving your graduate results.

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Services Australia notification: Communicating the upgrade to digital health and aged care channels

Australian Government Services Australia logoServices Australia is pleased to be working with Ahpra to prepare you for the upgrades the agency is making to its digital health and aged care channels.

Services Australia is upgrading its digital health and aged care channels. These upgrades will ensure that patient and provider information is secure, now and into the future.

To continue accessing the channels below, you’ll need to be using web service-compatible software by 13 March 2022:

  • Medicare Online
  • Australian Immunisation Register
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • PBS Online
  • Aged Care Online

Services Australia is also strengthening its authentication process by replacing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) site certificates with Provider Digital Access (PRODA) for organisations.

PRODA will help you do your electronic business with Services Australia securely.

If you use an alternative channel for your claims and don’t use software, you don’t need to do anything. These upgrades won’t affect you.

For more information about PRODA, visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/proda

What you need to do

Your software developer will have information on their transition and upgrade plans for your site. If you haven’t heard from them, contact them now and ask:

  • when will your web services-compatible software be available, and
  • if you will need to register your organisation in PRODA to authenticate to Medicare Online/ECLIPSE web services.*

*Users of PBS Online and Aged Care must register their organisation in PRODA to authenticate to their web services-enabled software.

If you use PBS Online, your software developer will contact you when more information is available.

It is important that you understand these changes, as they will affect your business if you use software to submit claims and data to Services Australia.

For more information, visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/hpwebservices

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National Scheme news

Changes to notification management are coming in Queensland

Queensland will introduce joint consideration of all notifications about health practitioners between Ahpra, the National Boards and the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in December 2021.

The changes aim to speed up the initial assessment of notifications, which will benefit registered health practitioners and notifiers.

All notifications about podiatrists and podiatric surgeons in Queensland will continue to be received by the OHO. Currently, the OHO deals with the most serious matters it receives and refers most of the remaining notifications to Ahpra and the Podiatry Board of Australia.

From December, all notifications received by the OHO about podiatric practitioners will be shared with Ahpra and the Podiatry Board when they are received. Ahpra and the OHO will review each notification at the same time and agree on which agency should manage the matter. All notifications that raise a concern about a dental practitioner’s performance will be reviewed by a podiatric clinical advisor.

The changes provide greater opportunity for earlier closure of concerns that do not need a regulatory response.

Ahpra CEO, Mr Martin Fletcher, said that the joint consideration approach would build on the strong relationship between the OHO, Ahpra and National Boards in managing notifications to support access to safe, professional practitioners for Queensland and Australia more broadly.

We’re looking forward to working even more closely with the OHO to ensure that notifications about health practitioners are assessed as quickly and consistently as possible,’ Mr Fletcher said.

‘This means a better experience both for health practitioners and notifiers.’

Relevant changes to Queensland legislation take effect on 6 December 2021 and all notifications from this date will be subject to joint consideration. For more information on how notifications are managed, see Ahpra's website.

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Updated regulatory principles – supporting trust and confidence in regulated health professions

We’ve updated our regulatory principles to foster a culturally safe, responsive and risk-based approach to regulation.

The regulatory principles guide the National Boards and Ahpra when making regulatory decisions.

The changes reflect community expectations and new policy directions from the Health Council, as well as feedback from public consultation. They recognise that community confidence in the regulation of health practitioners is key to a safe and effective health system.

Overall, the changes:

  • reinforce that public protection is the paramount objective of the National Scheme
  • recognise the role of the National Boards and Ahpra in developing a culturally safe and respectful health workforce
  • consider the risks to the public including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and members of the community who are vulnerable to harm
  • embed fairness and transparency, and
  • highlight the importance of maintaining community confidence in regulated health professions and working with consumer bodies to achieve this.

More information about the review of the regulatory principles is available on Ahpra’s website.

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Thousands more health practitioners able to join the pandemic response

From 22 September, thousands of extra health practitioners, including podiatrists, can join the COVID-19 response through a new temporary sub-register established by Ahpra and the National Boards.

  • Nearly 29,000 practitioners who recently stopped practising are now eligible to practise for up to 12 months.
  • This surge workforce will make more practitioners available to help with the pandemic response if they choose to do so.
  • Practitioners can opt out of the 2021 sub-register at any time and don't need to explain why.

The 2021 pandemic response sub-register was established in response to the changing needs of Australia’s health system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes 12 regulated health professions whose members can work to the full scope of their registration.

On the 2021 sub-register are key professions identified by governments in their pandemic response planning. These include medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists along with dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, occupational therapists, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists. Eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are being added to the 2021 sub-register if they choose to opt in.

The extra health practitioners on the 2021 sub-register join 26,000 practitioners who are on the 2020 pandemic response sub-register first established in April 2020. Practitioners on the 2020 pandemic sub-register are restricted to working in areas directly supporting the COVID-19 response, such as administering the COVID-19 vaccination or backfilling for furloughed staff.

Read more on Ahpra’s website.

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Research and evaluation framework to embed strong research culture

National Boards and Ahpra have published the Research and evaluation framework, the guiding document that outlines how we prioritise, carry out, manage and assess research and evaluation.

The framework, which builds on the inaugural framework released in 2017, aims to further embed an ethical, transparent and accountable best practice research and evaluation culture within the National Scheme.

The framework covers all National Scheme research and evaluation activities including those led by Ahpra staff and external researchers and consultants. It includes information on:

  • research and evaluation principles
  • priorities
  • governance and practice
  • engagement and communication.

The framework can be viewed on the Ahpra website

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 23/11/2021