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cultural safety accreditation

Physiotherapy Accreditation Guide strengthens Cultural Safety & NSQHS Standards

December 8th, 2021

AUSTRALIAN PHYSIOTHERAPY COUNCIL

The Australian Physiotherapy Council is pleased to launch our updated Accreditation guide, which provides directions for education providers seeking program accreditation, re-accreditation or engaged in the monitoring process of entry-level physiotherapy education programs of study.

As an accreditation authority within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health practitioners, the Council seeks ways to align with the community’s expectations of health care professionals. We also aim to positively influence the physiotherapy profession and workforce through our accreditation and assessment role.

What has changed in the new physiotherapy Accreditation guide? 

The recently updated physiotherapy Accreditation guide provides advice and directions to education providers undertaking their accreditation process with the Council. Specifically, the guide strengthens the requirements related to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments and development of Cultural Safety in the curriculum, as well as references to the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

Why do these changes matter to the Australian physiotherapy profession?

Australian physiotherapists are expected to meet the consistent, high quality, national professional standards of practice to qualify for registration with Ahpra. The Council works in partnership with Ahpra and the Physiotherapy Board of Australia to incorporate priority areas of focus into our accreditation services.

In recent years, Ahpra developed the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020 – 2025, which sought to eliminate racism in the health system, improve cultural safety, increase participation and access and use NRAS’ leadership and influence.

With a view to supporting Ahpra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health and Cultural Safety Strategy, the Council’s updated physiotherapy Accreditation guide requires education providers to demonstrate how they are developing culturally safe physiotherapy graduates.

The Council believes that supporting the Australian physiotherapy workforce to be culturally safe health care practitioners, is vitally important to addressing inequities in indigenous health measures.

The Council is committed to utilising accreditation of entry-level physiotherapy programs, as one of the levers to help affect positive change in providing appropriate health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The new physiotherapy Accreditation guide now recognises the relevant National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards, including in relation to collaborative practice and team-based care. The primary aims of the NSQHS Standards are to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health service provision.

By including the NSQHS Standards into the physiotherapy Accreditation guide, the Council is requiring education providers to teach their physiotherapy students how to provide patients with a nationally consistent level of care and safety, and provide examples of applying collaborative practice and team-based care.

The final improvement in the Accreditation guide is the need for education providers to present evidence of appropriate leadership of physiotherapy programs and that teaching staff are suitably qualified and experienced to deliver the units that they teach. This gives both the Council as the physiotherapy accreditation authority and the broader physiotherapy profession and community, confidence that physiotherapy graduates will be receiving high-quality education that will produce competent physiotherapists ready to enter the workforce.

These changes to the Council’s Accreditation guide reflect our deep commitment to our role in ‘ensuring tomorrow’s physiotherapy workforce.’

cultural safety accreditation

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