Shenda’s Peter’s Blog
If the saying “perspective is everything“ holds true, then I got my fair share of ‘everything’ earlier this month at World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) in Singapore.
It was an excellent conference with more than 3,500 PTs from around the world coming together for three days of presentations, discussions, courses and networking.
Canada was well represented at WCPT, with well over 50 participants from Canadian universities, regulators and our national association.
Singapore is a grand location and the conference itself was very impressive, but I want to focus on the small, two-day conference called INPTRA, which preceded WCPT.
The International Network of Physiotherapy Regulatory Authorities (INPTRA) was started 15 years ago by CPO past-Registrar Jan Robinson, to give regulators an opportunity to share resources and experiences.
Sixty-fix people attended INPTRA, representing 16 countries and Shenda and I had a chance to present on how regulation works in Ontario and Canada and hear about the successes and challenges of different models in other countries.
Here is some of what I learned:
- In Australia, all health professions are regulated by one agency and there is a common code of conduct and standards that apply to everyone.
- Complaints from the public for all health professions go to this same agency.
- There is one, national registry and PTs are free to move about Australia. Mobility to New Zealand is very straightforward.
- In the UK, there is a national registry of PTs and all health professions are governed by pooled standards.
- Complaints from the public are also pooled, but profession-specific in how they are adjudicated.
- Mobility is seamless between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- USA has a state run licensure system with different standards for each state.
- Singapore and Southeast Asian countries have good mobility and common standards, but the public does not have direct access to PTs.
- Kenya, Croatia and Sri Lanka are in the fledgling stages of national PT regulation.
While having lunch with the Australians, it was a somewhat embarrassing to admit Canada has only 20,000 PTs, yet we have 10 separate PT Registers and PTs do not have the ability to move freely across Canada with one registration.
Without pooling of standards in Canada, there are 10 slightly different versions of the same standard.
Do we really need 10 record keeping standards for PTs?
I left Singapore with a new perspective on PT regulation in Ontario and with many questions. We are fortunate to have regulation of any kind to protect the public, a luxury many nations do not have. We also have the added privilege to have the opportunity for the profession to regulate itself.
However, we also have an obligation to learn from other countries and consider if it will work in the Ontario/Canadian context.
Would common standards work for all PTs across Canada?
Would common standards work for all health care professions in Canada?
Should one board adjudicate all complaints for all health professions?
Can we still have provincial regulation but at least have a national PT registry?
I think national standards for Canadian PTs would bring efficiency, clarity and may add to public confidence. I also think a national registry for PTs would efficiently give all provincial colleges access to one database and allow PTs in Canada to be more mobile.
Thanks to Shenda for letting me take over her blog this month. I’ve given you my perspective and now I’d like to hear yours. Tell me what you think below!