0015 Osteopathy Australia

General information

Submitterʼs name
Osteopathy Australia
Submitted on behalf of
Professional body or industry association

About the submission

Please select the industry your submission is in relation to. If required, you may select multiple industries.
Health Care and Social Assistance
Please identify which occupations your submission relates to:
Specific occupations (eg Chief Executive or Managing Director)
Please choose all occupations to which your submission relates.
252112 Osteopath


1. Are there additional labour market factors, for which there are national datasets available (ideally aligned to 6-digit ANZSCO occupation level), that are relevant to future refinements to the Departmentʼs analysis and methodology?

What is the frequency of data release?

Osteopathy Australia (OA) recommends examining the potential use of registrant data from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for small health professions, as outlined below.

2. The Department is also seeking submissions on suitable datasets that are disaggregated by region. Please provide details if you are aware of such a dataset, including whether it is aligned to ANZSCO occupations and how often the dataset is updated.

Osteopathy Australia recommends that the Department contact AHPRA regarding their registrant data for health practitioners, which is updated every quarter and which OA considers is more accurate than the ABS data for osteopaths. The AHPRA datasets include osteopathy as a distinct profession which can be mapped to Occupation Code 252112 – Osteopath.
Presumably geocoding can occur via the postcode of the principal place of practice field in the AHPRA data set. This would enable the Department to see the considerable geographic maldistribution apparent in the osteopathic workforce, which is heavily concentrated in metropolitan Melbourne and to a lesser extent Sydney.

3. Is there any other advice or evidence that the Department should consider in its review of the methodology?

OA notes that osteopathy and chiropractic are grouped in Unit Group 2521. The two professions are significantly different in size (c.2,200 registered osteopaths at June 2017 v over 5,200 registered chiropractors), distribution and characteristics. Therefore any useful assumptions about workforce shortage need to be made at the level of Occupation Code 252112 – Osteopath. This applies to the Employment Growth Projections: Five Years to May 2022 and other data sources in the methodology.
Over 55% of registered osteopaths practice in Victoria, the vast majority within metropolitan Melbourne. In our opinion, anywhere else would be considered an area of workforce shortage. Even within metropolitan Melbourne, the proportion of osteopaths to population is approximately half that of physiotherapists.
Please consider the attached AHPRA data as at June 2017. When analysed at a state level, it reveals a significant difference in practitioners per population, and would identify comparative shortages when analysed via principal place of practice and rural/ remote classification. OA notes that, when comparing the ABS workforce report and AHPRA data, we observed that it was approximately 50% inaccurate.
OA cautions against the use of vacancy data without due care. The absence of an advertised vacancy does not always mean workforce sufficiency. For example, many regional and rural practices do not spend money to advertise as they are highly unlikely to attract applicants. OA notes that vacancies in the report: Vacancies —Department of Employment Internet Vacancies Index for occupations by skill level, as well for all states/territories - are extremely low for chiro and osteo combined (<10 in most months according to the IVI data: Detailed occupation data, March 2006 onwards at http://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/GainInsights/VacancyReport ), let alone osteopaths separately. This does not reflect the workforce situation for osteopathy. Over 500 people view the Jobs Board on the Osteopathy Australia website every week, which is considerable given the size of the profession. In a 2013 membership survey, OA found that a majority of respondents were seeking to recruit an additional osteopath in their practice, ranging from 55% in WA and VIC, 64% in NSW, 71% in QLD, 86% in TAS and 100% in SA.
As the examples above show, datasets which combine professions create the risk of an incorrect view of the workforce situation for one or both professions. However, OA recognises the potential sensitivity of modelling for small workforces and urges the Department to consider ways in which the workforce needs of these workforces can be analysed in a way that more accurately informs the Skilled Migration Lists.
OA would be grateful it if it was consulted going forward, with a reasonable timeframe, prior to any possible changes being made to the status of osteopaths on the Skilled Migration Lists, so that any up to date information we may have can be shared.
Do you have any supporting material for your submission?
Yes (see attachments)

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Last modified on Friday 10 November 2017 [38946|92421]