The Council is still working …

August 3rd, 2020

Anton Barnett-Harris

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Physiotherapy Council

With the continuing devastating news around the world of the impact of COVID-19, here at the Council, we wanted to reach out to you, our valued customers and stakeholders, and let you know that we deeply care about each of your situations, and share some of what we’re doing behind the scenes.

Over the weekend here in Melbourne, Victoria, our State Government has announced that we need to enter Stage 4 restrictions to curb the community transmission of COVID-19. This means that for now, the Council offices and Simulation Lab will remain closed for at least the next couple of months, and our staff team are continuing to work remotely.

The Council remains dedicated and strongly committed to working as hard as we can for your benefit, despite how COVID-19 has dramatically impacted all our lives, and the ability for the Council to operate normally from our Melbourne offices. We will continue to work as best we can, in these challenging circumstances.

What are we focused on doing?

  1. The Council is working extremely hard to find COVIDsafe alternatives and solutions, to keep delivering accreditation and assessment to you.
  2. Our team are focusing on how to keep our candidates and staff safe and healthy, as we conduct assessments. We have explored numerous options and possibilities, but we MUST ensure that any option we pursue is COVIDsafe, and still provides a fair and robust method of assessment as is our responsibility under the National Law – we cannot compromise on either of these imperatives!

What HAVE we been able to do?

  1. The Council is now offering candidates the opportunity to continue progressing through the standard assessment pathway by doing a Remote Written Assessment. This means, instead of attending a physical assessment venue, candidates can do their Written Assessment online from their home, with live monitoring from a remote supervisor/proctor.
  2. Our Accreditation Site Visits are now being done as virtual visits, allowing our Accreditation Panel members to interact with University staff and stakeholders via live video conferencing. These virtual site visits enable the Council to verify the physiotherapy programs being offered to university students, continue to meet the standard and graduate physiotherapists who are safe to practice.
  3. Candidates who held a valid Interim Certificate issued before 1 March 2020, were provided with a 12 month extension.

What’s been paused?

  1. At the moment, due to the Government’s Stage 4 restrictions, we are unable to conduct COVIDsafe simulation assessments in our Melbourne Simulation Lab. So unfortunately, simulation clinical assessments are on hold for the time being.

Our Management and staff have not stopped investigating options so our candidates can complete their Clinical Assessment. We know that many candidates are asking questions about possible alternatives, exemptions and exceptions. However, I can reassure you that we have not left any stone unturned; many options are simply not viable alternatives to the approved Clinical Assessment process, and we continue to work on the ones that are still feasible in the current context and will keep candidates regularly informed with any developments.

When will the Council resume “normal” ways of working?

  1. Honestly, it’s very hard to accurately predict a timing of when we can reopen our Melbourne offices and Simulation Lab.
  2. We need to comply with our Victorian State Government and health authorities directives, and ensure that we are not risking the health and safety of our candidates, stakeholders or staff.
  3. In the meantime, we can reassure you that we are preparing, and doing everything we can behind the scenes, to be ready to resume as soon as the Federal and State Government and health authorities give us permission to do so.

We appreciate that your lives and ours, have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions. Each one of us has a different story of the unexpected ways that 2020 is unfolding for us, and how we have had to live, adapt and accept things outside of our control.

The Council will continue to provide you with regular updates to help you stay connected with the changes and proposed plans for resuming our business activities.

We kindly ask that you are understanding and patient with the Council and our staff members, who are continuing to serve you, and seek suitable ways to help you progress through your assessment and accreditation pathways.

If you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.

From Anton Barnett-Harris, CEO, Australian Physiotherapy Council

on behalf of the Council Village, Staff and Board

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