October 2019


 Issue 21 – October 2019

Chair’s message

Photo of Cylie WilliamsWe have had a busy year so far. In May, the Board hosted a booth at the National Podiatry Conference in Adelaide. This gave us an excellent opportunity to hear questions from podiatrists about registration, continuing professional development (CPD) and endorsement for scheduled medicines.

We could also help podiatrists navigate the Board’s website to find answers for their questions on how to continue to meet their obligations as registered podiatrists. We now understand where there were challenges in finding relevant information so we have made some minor changes on our website. We hope this helps you easily find what you need. 

I urge you to continue reading news from the Board and AHPRA on our respective websites. Take special note of the message in this newsletter about practitioners’ responsibility to support public health programs, including vaccination. We published this on the Board’s website in early May.

There are four public consultations open on key guidance documents. More information about the consultations is in this newsletter. I encourage you to read the consultation papers and give us your feedback – the online survey option makes it easy. This is your opportunity to contribute to the development of our regulatory policy.

In 2018, the Podiatry Board, along with the other National Boards, AHPRA, accreditation authorities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector leaders and organisations, endorsed the National Scheme Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Statement of Intent. This highlights a shared vision and values and our intent to work together to achieve equity in health outcomes to close the gap by 2031. Find out more about this work on AHPRA’s Statement of Intent web page.

Cylie Williams
Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia

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Board news

Give us your feedback on revised guidelines and a new framework

Three public consultations are now open asking for people to have their say on revised guidance to help practitioners and others understand their mandatory notification obligations, their obligations when advertising a regulated health service and to support a responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice.

Alongside other National Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the Board is conducting consultations on:

  • revised Guidelines: Mandatory notifications about registered health practitioners and Guidelines: Mandatory notifications about health students
  • revised Guidelines on advertising regulated health services, and
  • a proposed Supervised practice framework. 

Read the full media release about these consultations on the AHPRA website.

We invite podiatrists, podiatric surgeons and podiatry stakeholders to give feedback to these important public consultations. To ensure everyone has the chance to respond the closing dates for public consultation are staggered as follows:

  • Public consultation on the mandatory notifications guidelines will close on 6 November 2019.
  • Public consultation on the advertising guidelines will close on 26 November 2019.
  • Public consultation on the supervised practice framework will close on 17 December 2019.

The consultation papers are available on the Current consultations page on the Board website. To make it easier to participate, you can use the online survey option to send us your feedback.

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Public consultation open on blood-borne viruses guidelines

The Board, in partnership with the Dental, Medical, Nursing and Midwifery and Paramedicine Boards of Australia, has opened consultation on the draft Guidelines for registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses (the draft guidelines).

The draft guidelines are intended to support practitioners in these professions to comply with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia Australian national guidelines for the management of healthcare workers living with blood borne viruses and healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures at risk of exposure to blood borne viruses (the CDNA guidelines).

All registered health practitioners who perform exposure-prone procedures, or who are living with a blood-borne virus, need to comply with the CDNA guidelines. We have developed the draft guidelines to support health practitioners and students to decide whether they perform exposure-prone procedures in their practice and if so, how to meet the requirements of the CDNA guidelines.

We invite feedback from podiatrists, podiatric surgeons and podiatry stakeholders, employers and the wider public. To have your say, please visit the Current consultations page on the Board website. Consultation closes on 1 November 2019.

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Changes to renewal questions for podiatric surgeons

The Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) has updated the Australian national guidelines for the management of healthcare workers living with blood borne viruses and healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures at risk of exposure to blood borne viruses (the CDNA guidelines).

In response to the updates to the CDNA guidelines, the Board will be asking podiatric surgeons at registration and renewal whether they perform exposure-prone procedures, and if so, to answer additional questions about compliance with the CDNA guidelines.

Podiatrists will not be asked these questions because the routine procedures carried out by podiatrists, such as a nail avulsion, are considered non-exposure prone procedures.

The CDNA guidelines and helpful information sheets for practitioners, including information about exposure-prone procedures and non-exposure-prone procedures, are available on the Department of Health’s website.

Further information about the CDNA guidelines and what they mean for practitioners will be published on the Board’s website in the coming months.

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CPD reminder – are you on track?

With registration renewal approaching, you should be reflecting on your progress in meeting the Board’s requirements for continuing professional development (CPD). This will ensure you are on track to meet your CPD obligations by the time you renew your registration.

For podiatrists, this includes completing training that includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); management of anaphylaxis; and use of an automated external defibrillator. For podiatric surgeons it includes training in advanced life support.

The results from the Board’s audit for the last two years showed that a significant number of practitioners who were audited had not completed this compulsory training.

We are concerned about these results and remind practitioners that you must complete the required training as part of meeting your CPD obligations. You must have a current certificate or other evidence issued by the approved training organisation to show that you have successfully completed the training. Keep this in your CPD portfolio and send it to the Board, if requested, for audit or other purposes.

The CPR component must be refreshed annually to reflect the Australian Resuscitation Council’s recommendation and the other requirements (management of anaphylaxis; and the use of an AED) must be renewed at least every three years.

CPD activities

It is important that your CPD meets the requirements of the Board’s CPD registration standard and is relevant to your area of practice. Remember that at least five hours of your CPD must be in an interactive setting with other practitioners, such as face-to-face education. Interactive CPD can also include technologies that enable interaction such as Skype or videoconferencing.

If your registration is endorsed for scheduled medicines, you must complete CPD relevant to your endorsement.

The CPD registration standard can be found on the Board's website. There are guidelines for CPD, as well as Frequently asked questions (FAQ) and templates to assist you to plan and record your CPD activities. See the policies, codes and guidelines section of the Board’s website.

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Endorsement for scheduled medicines – update

The Board is working with AHPRA on the implementation of the revised registration standard for endorsement for scheduled medicines. This includes identifying any areas where practitioners may need further guidance about Pathway B to endorsement.

As flagged in the previous newsletter, the Board has published two animated videos to help practitioners understand the application process for an endorsement for scheduled medicines under Pathway B. If you are contemplating applying for endorsement, watch these videos as they provide a clear overview of the steps for Pathway B.

The videos also highlight the role a mentor plays in supporting a practitioner’s learning during the supervised practice period under Pathway B, and point you to where you can find further information about the requirements for Pathway B.

You’ll find the videos on the Endorsement for scheduled medicines page of our website. The registration standard and associated guidelines are also published on this page, together with FAQ and relevant templates. It’s important to read the registration standard and guidelines carefully as well as the FAQ to make sure you understand the requirements.

Submitting clinical studies for assessment

One of the key steps under Pathway B is submitting three clinical studies for assessment when you have completed a minimum of 25 hours of supervised practice. The clinical studies must meet the requirements set out in Appendix 2 of the guidelines. We have published a template for a clinical study on the Endorsement for scheduled medicines page and a table with guidance on how to complete the clinical study is attached to the template.

You must use the Clinical studies submission form - Endorsement for scheduled medicines pathway B - CSSF-70 when submitting your clinical studies for initial assessment. See the Forms page of our website, where there are also other relevant forms for endorsement for scheduled medicines.

Feedback on clinical studies

Submitting clinical studies for initial assessment enables the Board to give you feedback in the early part of your period of supervised practice, and provide you with an opportunity to reflect on the feedback, discuss this with your mentor and address any concerns before you complete your supervised practice.

We strongly recommend that you include one or more challenging cases such as a high-risk or complex case in the three clinical studies you submit for initial assessment. This will help you to get the most benefit from this process and you’ll be able to use the feedback you receive as a learning tool.

Remember, when you apply for endorsement your portfolio of evidence must include a minimum of 15 clinical studies. These must:

  • reflect a variety of placements during the period of supervised practice, such as (but not restricted to) high-risk foot clinics, teaching clinics, emergency departments, an operating room, rheumatology clinics, endocrinology clinics, general medical practice or aged care facilities
  • involve podiatric pathology in at least 12 of the clinical studies and be related to a podiatric condition, intervention or management. Clinical studies that don’t involve podiatric pathology must deal with conditions that would allow the knowledge and skills to transfer to podiatry
  • include at least five high-risk cases; for example, a foot that has or is at risk of progressive deformity, ulceration, infection and/or amputation as a result of a patient's underlying medical condition
  • include cases where patients have a range of co-morbidities and are at risk of adverse outcomes related to polypharmacy
  • demonstrate complexity in patient cases – you must include at least five cases which involve more than one class of medicines. These cases must include at least one medicine from the National podiatry scheduled medicines list and may also include the medicines that the patient is already taking, and
  • clearly show your patient assessment and clinical decision-making processes and demonstrate your knowledge and critical thinking in relation to the use of scheduled medicines in your clinical practice.

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The Board sets fees for 2019/20

The Board has frozen the registration fee at $378 for the fourth consecutive year. The fee for practitioners whose principal place of practice is New South Wales is also $378.

A full fee schedule is published on the Board's website.   

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) is funded by practitioners’ registration fees.

Practitioner registration fees support the Board to support a safe and mobile Australian workforce for health practitioners and the public in the most efficient way possible. Registration fees also allow the Board to facilitate the provision of high-quality education and training for practitioners.

Although the Board has frozen the fee, it will have sufficient funds to allow it to carry out its duties and protect the public. The Board is committed to keeping the fee as low as possible, while meeting its regulatory obligations to protect the public.

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Update to Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare

The Board’s Guidelines: Infection prevention and control provide guidance for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons about appropriate professional practice with respect to infection prevention and control in podiatry practice.

As noted in our guidelines, the Board adopts the Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC guidelines), as amended from time to time.

All practising podiatrists and podiatric surgeons must be familiar with and practise within the recommendations of the NHMRC guidelines as they apply to their work or practice setting(s).

The NHMRC guidelines were recently reviewed, and the updated 2019 guidelines can be found on the NHMRC website. The NHMRC has also published a summary of the guidelines which includes a summary of changes in the 2019 update.

We encourage you to carefully review the updated NHMRC guidelines to ensure you practise in a way that maintains and enhances public health and safety by ensuring the risk of the spread of infection is prevented or minimised.

The Board’s Guidelines: Infection prevention and control are published on the Policies, codes and guidelines section of our website, together with a self-audit tool that you can use to reflect on how well you comply with the Board’s guidelines.

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Podiatry Accreditation Committee appointed

Following a scheduled review of accreditation arrangements across all National Boards, the Board decided in July 2018 that the accreditation functions for the podiatry profession will be exercised by an independent accreditation committee established by the Board for a five-year period from 1 July 2019.

After a competitive expression of interest and selection process, we appointed the following members to the Podiatry Accreditation Committee:

  • Dr Meeuwis Boelen (Chair)
  • Mr Mark Gilheany (Deputy Chair)
  • Ms Alison Bell
  • Dr Alan Bryant
  • Dr Vivienne Chuter
  • Dr Sara Jones
  • Dr Lloyd Reed.

For more information about the committee, see the Board’s website.

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New page on Board website links to all advertising resources

The Board has a new page on its website from which you can access all advertising resources.

Since the launch of the Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy for the National Scheme in April 2017, several helpful tools and examples of non-compliant advertising have been published in the Advertising resources section of the AHPRA website.   

The Board’s new Advertising a regulated health service webpage will enable practitioners to quickly find information about advertising from the one location, including the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services and the other advertising resources.

The new page is easily reached via the homepage of the Board’s website by clicking on the following promo tile:

Homepage promo tile advertising 

Website analysis shows that advertising resources developed by the National Boards and AHPRA are accessed regularly. Resources being downloaded as PDFs include the tool on using titles in health advertising and the tool explaining why testimonials are prohibited.

The self-assessment tool is a good resource you can use to check and correct your advertising to make sure it complies with the requirements of the National Law.

We encourage you to visit the Board’s dedicated advertising webpage and read the advertising guidelines and other resources to ensure you are meeting your legal and professional obligations when advertising a regulated health service.

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Board member recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours

Jan DaviesDr Janice ‘Jan’ Davies, a community member of the Board, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.

The honour was awarded to Dr Davies for services to community health. In addition to her role on the Board, Dr Davies is a member of the Victorian Registration and Notification Committee of the Dental Board of Australia.

She is also an independent healthcare consultant and has been involved in a number of organisations including the National Quality Dementia Care Initiative, Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer’s Australia), and the National Institute of Clinical Studies.

The Board is delighted that Dr Davies’ contribution to the community and the work of the National Scheme have been recognised and we congratulate Jan on her accomplishment.

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Registration

Snapshot of the profession

The Board publishes quarterly data profiling Australia’s podiatry workforce. The data report for the April to June 2019 quarter is published under Statistics on our website.

As at 30 June 2019, there were 5,361 registered podiatrists and podiatric surgeons in total. Of these, 5,209 held general registration as a podiatrist; 33 held both general registration and specialist registration as a podiatric surgeon; and 119 held non-practising registration. There are 107 practitioners with their registration endorsed for scheduled medicines.

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Regulation at work

Company fined $30,600 for unlawful advertising

A Sydney company has been convicted of 10 charges related to advertising offences in a New South Wales local court following charges laid by AHPRA.

The Running Clinic (Australia) Pty Ltd (formerly trading as the Heel Clinic) was convicted and fined for advertising offences under the National Law. It was fined $30,600 and ordered to pay AHPRA’s costs of $8,000.

AHPRA filed 10 charges against the company. It alleged that advertising claims on The Running Clinic’s websites and Facebook account contained false, misleading and deceptive claims about podiatry services that were likely to create an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment.

AHPRA first raised the unlawful advertising with the company in 2015 and, while minor changes were made to the claims, the company failed to significantly rectify the issues.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher welcomed the court outcome. ‘Consumers have a right to expect that all registered health practitioners are truthful when advertising their services. This court outcome sends a clear message to anyone advertising a regulated health service that AHPRA will act if they break the law.’

The Board’s guidelines for advertising regulated health services, together with information and resources to help practitioners understand their advertising obligations, can be found on the Board’s website.  

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National Scheme news

Tackling the fear of notifications – practitioners’ perspectives

Earlier this year, AHPRA launched a series of videos to support the public and registered health practitioners as they go through the notification process.

The video series, called ‘Let’s talk about it’, explains what happens when concerns are raised with the regulator, gives easy-to-follow information about the notifications process and addresses common questions, so consumers and health practitioners know what to expect when they interact with AHPRA and National Boards.

The series is part of work to minimise the adverse impact of the notifications process on practitioners and notifiers. Over the last few months two new videos were added. These provide a first-hand account of the notification process from a practitioner’s perspective:

The other videos in the series are:

The videos sit alongside other written resources available on the website, including information about understanding the notifications experience. See: www.ahpra.gov.au/Notifications.

You can view the videos on the AHPRA and National Board websites or on our YouTube and Vimeo channel, and join the conversation by following AHPRA on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, use the hashtag #letstalkaboutit and tag @AHPRA.

My expereince: receiving a notification   

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Fake practitioners face jail and hefty fines as new regulatory powers come into force

From 1 July this year, the law got tougher on people who pretend to be a registered health practitioner.
The penalties for anyone prosecuted by AHPRA under the National Law for these offences now include bigger fines and the prospect of prison time.

Australia’s health ministers wanted to address the serious risk to the public posed by anyone who pretends to be a registered health practitioner, so they increased the sanctions offenders face.

AHPRA has a strong track record of taking action on individuals pretending to be a registered health practitioner when they are not. Since 2014, AHPRA has successfully prosecuted more than 50 cases where people were falsely claiming to be registered practitioners. These included people pretending to be medical practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapistspsychologists and dentists.

Fake practitioners betray the trust that patients place in them. Under the changes to the law, offenders face the possibility of a maximum term of three years’ imprisonment per offence. They also face an increase in the maximum fines from $30,000 to $60,000 per offence for an individual and from $60,000 to $120,000 per offence for a corporate entity.

Everyone can check the online register of practitioners to make sure they are seeing a registered practitioner who is qualified and meets national standards.

Summary of the new laws

  • The amendments were passed in February 2019 by the Queensland Parliament under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) (the Act).
  • The new offence provisions will apply in all states and territories, except Western Australia.
  • The amendments apply to people pretending to be a registered health practitioner. Under the National Law, anyone who calls themselves any of the ‘protected titles’, such as ‘podiatrist’, ‘medical practitioner’ or ‘psychologist’, must be registered with the relevant National Board. It is an offence to use one of the protected titles, and it is also an offence to knowingly or recklessly claim to be a registered practitioner when you’re not or use symbols or language that may lead a reasonable person to believe that an individual is a registered health practitioner or is qualified to practise in a health profession. These offences are known as ‘holding out’.
  • The amendments to offence provisions do not apply to advertising offences under the National Law.

Read more in the media release.

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Reminder to support public health programs

Australia’s health regulators have reminded health practitioners about their responsibility to support public health programs, including vaccination.

Regulators have spoken out to support public safety, given mounting concerns about a five-year high in measles cases and a spike in flu cases this year.

AHPRA and the National Boards for 16 professions have urged more than 740,000 registered health practitioners to take seriously their responsibilities for public health, including by helping patients to be protected from preventable illnesses.

You can read the media release on the Board’s website.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit www.podiatryboard.gov.au for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ. 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 9275 9009 (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 3/10/2019