National Registration of Occupational Therapists
National Registration of Occupational Therapists Petition This petition regards the need for occupational therapy to be included in the new single, national registration scheme for health professionals. This petition will be presented to the Australian Health Workforce Principles Committee in conjunction with The Council of Occupational Therapist Registration Boards and OT Australia's document: Towards a National Safe System for Occupational Therapy Profession. This petition is seeking the support of occupational therapy students at the University of Queensland for a National Registration Scheme. Occupational therapy registration is currently regulated in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. This means all occupational therapists working within these states must be registered, have the correct qualifications and meet the professional standards of occupational therapy. However, these states have separate registration boards and occupational therapists must reapply for registration to work in the other states/territory. The remaining states, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, do not have registration boards. This means there in no regulation system to ensure only qualified occupational therapists are practicing. This inconsistent and segregated system of occupational therapy regulation poses a threat to the public's safety and well being, and our professional credibility. Further more, it will become more difficult to compare the credibility of our services with that of other health professions that already have compulsory national registration; and it may allow other professions to encroach on our occupational therapy areas of practice without the proper qualifications. As future graduates and occupational therapists, the issue of a new single, national registration scheme will influence our professions and careers. We are all currently completing a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. During this four year degree we learn and develop a unique body of knowledge and skills that prepare us to work collaboratively with a diverse range of people who have a disability or impairment, and who experience barriers to participation in work, family or other life experience. We use a range of conceptual models and frameworks that guide our practice in a way that is unique to occupational therapy. Upon graduation we are required to be qualified, skilled, and fit to make complex judgements about a diverse range of client problems to create workable, effective and sustainable solutions for our clients/patients. Occupational therapy services that are not provided competently and professionally compromise individual health outcomes, erode public trust I the quality of their clinical practice, and can, result in injury and fatality. For a client centred profession such as occupational therapy, this is a major concern. Therefore, it is crucial our occupational therapists are regulated and monitored to ensure the quality of our practice and credibility of our profession. Voluntary self-regulation, licensing regimes, and other governance mechanisms cannot be guaranteed to meet the necessary quality assurance standards in the professional practice of occupational therapy required for public safety. A responsive regulatory system will provide the most effective safeguard for patient wellbeing and professional competence. The profession's inclusion in the national registration and accreditation scheme will provide a sound framework to manage the potential risks to public safety that may arise from occupational therapists working without the support and governance of rigorous quality assurance mechanisms. This petition is aimed at the occupational therapy students of the University of Queensland. However, students from other universities, practicing occupational therapists and concerned members of the public are welcome to also sign. Please sign this petition to support the need for national registration of the profession of Occupational Therapy to ensure competent practice and to safeguard the health and safety of the community.