Occupational Therapy Board of Australia - 2021/22 annual summary
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2021/22 annual summary

Occupational therapy in 2021/22


27,666 occupational therapists

  • Up 7.9% from 2020/21
  • 3.2% of all registered health practitioners

0.7% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

90.0% female; 10.0% male


Age: <25 9.0%, 25-34 41.4%, 35-44 26.2%, 45-54 14.6%, 55-64 7.3%, 65-74 1.5%, >75 0.1%



76 notifications lodged with Ahpra about

69 occupational therapists

  • 142 notifications about 117 occupational therapists made Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data
  • 0.4% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: 56.6% Patient, relative or member of the public, 13.2% Health complaints entity, 10.5% Other practitioner, 9.2% Employer, 1.3% Board initiated, 9.2% Other

Most common types of complaint

Most common types of complaint: 26.3% Clinical care, 15.8% Documentation, 9.2% Communication, 9.2% Confidentiality, 6.6% Breach of non-offence provision - National Law, 4.0% Behaviour, 4.0% Boundary violation, 2.6% Health impairment, 2.6% Offence against other law, 19.7% Other

2 immediate actions taken

8 mandatory notifications received

  • 5 about professional standards

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 84 notifications closed, 11.9% conditions imposed on registration, 9.5% cautioned or reprimanded, 25.0% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 53.6% no further action


16 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year

100 cases being monitored at 30 June:

  • 4 for conduct
  • 3 for health
  • 1 for performance
  • 2 for prohibited practitioner/student
  • 90 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Criminal offence complaints

13 criminal offence complaints made

  • 12 about title protection
  • 1 other offence

12 closed

Referred to an adjudication body

No matters decided by a tribunal

No matters decided by a panel


No appeals lodged

From the Chair

Regulatory response to COVID-19

The Occupational Therapy Board of Australia continued to support practitioners to provide safe care in changing work environments. This work included:

  • working with Ahpra and other National Boards to develop guidance on Facilitating access to care in a COVID environment
  • releasing a joint statement with other National Boards, the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Office of the Health Ombudsman and the Therapeutic Goods Administration on COVID-19 and vaccines
  • enabling the continuing registration of occupational therapists on the pandemic subregister to give additional support for the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

The pandemic also continued to affect occupational therapy students, in particular on completion of their clinical placements. The Board maintained oversight of the issues affecting the education sector through its regular engagement with the Occupational Therapy Council of Australia Limited.

Joint reviews

The Board contributed to the scheduled review of the Registration standard: English language skills and the Registration standard: Criminal history. The Board also participated in the review of the Regulatory principles for the National Scheme.

The Board released a revised Code of conduct
in partnership with several other Boards.


The Board approved two new programs of study and continued to approve the accreditation of programs undergoing their scheduled reviews during the financial year. There are now 48 occupational therapy programs of study delivered by 24 education providers.

Stakeholder engagement

The Board held joint meetings with Occupational Therapy Australia (the national professional association) and the Occupational Therapy Council of Australia Limited. These meetings provided the chance to discuss emerging issues and to look for opportunities to enhance collaboration on similar activities that are being carried out across the respective organisations.

In October the Board held its sixth successful webinar for new and soon-to-be graduates, attended by almost 300 students, to help them understand their obligations on becoming a registered occupational therapist. The webinar continues to provide a valuable mechanism to communicate with new graduates about the logistics of the registration process and their obligations as practitioners.

Also in October, the Board celebrated the continued growth of the profession, with the registration of the 26,000th occupational therapist. The Board is also preparing to celebrate 10 years in the National Scheme. Both of these represent significant milestones in the national registration of the profession.

The Board held a webinar in June on notifications data. The webinar was attended by more than 600 practitioners and included a Q&A session with a panel of three Board members. The webinar provided a great opportunity to discuss the shared Code of conduct and the responsibilities of all practitioners.

The Board released the cross-profession
Supervised practice framework.

Other news

The Board supports the National Scheme's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020–2025, and members are participating in the Moong-moong-gak cultural safety training program.

Ms Julie Brayshaw

Page reviewed 9/11/2023