Registration of Physiotherapists in Austria

Registration of Physiotherapists in Austria

The registration started on July 1st2018 in a partially public directory. This directory contains selected data of all professionals who are authorized to practice physiotherapy in Austria. The registration, as well as the completed training or, if applicable, the recognition or notification of a diploma acquired abroad, is a prerequisite for lawfully practicing the profession in Austria. There are no fees for the registration. The registration must be renewed every five years but if the registration is not renewed it will be suspended for a maximum of three years and with it  the professional right to practice. If the physiotherapist does not inform the relevant registration authority before the end of these three years of a return to practice it will be considered as a career ending. The authority will remove the physiotherapist from the register.

What is the purpose of the registration?
With the registration it has become known for the first time  how many physiotherapists in Austria practice their profession and are actually entitled to work. It will now be possible to assess the need for physiotherapists or other professionals throughout Austria and in the federal states and regions. After entry in the health professional register of the name, occupation and if working as a professional in private practice, the professional seat, the name appears on a public list. Employers, professionals in private practice, social insurance institutions, colleagues, and especially those who use the services of physiotherapists, can rely on this information.

Who has to register?
Every physiotherapist who wants to work in Austria has to register. Further information for physiotherapists coming to Austria from abroad can be found here: https://www.physioaustria.at/allgemeine-information/working-austria

What if you will not practice the profession for a definite or indefinite period of time?
If the physiotherapist does not practice in Austria they must contact the responsible registration authority. In the register the professional practice is noted as “dormant”. A job setting, e.g. due to retirement, must also be reported. In the case of a job suspension, the physiotherapist will be removed from the register and further professional practice is prohibited.

Are there any other health professions that require registration?
Yes – Most healthcare professionals have been registered for many years, including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, midwives, clinical psychologists, health psychologists and psychotherapists. As of 1 July 2018, around 20,000 professionals from all seven MTD professions (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, orthoptists, biomedical analysts, radiology technologists) will have to register as well as around 80,000 professionals in the healthcare and nursing professions. This means that around 90 percent of all Austrian health professionals will be registered.

Does the registration authority also adopt professional policy agendas?
No. The registration is an official task. The registration authority has no political function. However, the content of the registration supports the professional policy work of the professional associations.
The professional associations play an important role in registration and beyond. The professional association is independent, represents the entire professional group in all professional matters and actively pursues career policy. In this context, the association has become an important partner in the healthcare sector and is represented in many important bodies and organizations. The professional associations have developed a service portfolio tailored to the needs of the respective professional, which can only be implemented within the framework of an independent representation of interests.

What is the role of Physio Austria with the registration authorities?
The profession specific interests are secured, in particular, by the participation in the official Registration Advisory Board. One professional member and one deputy represent the profession specific interests on the board. The Registration Advisory Board advises and provides recommendations for a uniform procedure of the registration authorities, for fundamental questions of registration as well as for register keeping, including quality assurance. The Registration Advisory Board is also involved in increasing the acceptance and general orientation as well as in the further development of the registration.

What does the registration especially mean for Physiotherapists mostly working in private practice?

Until now, no meaningful health services research was possible , not least because of the lack of data on the number of physiotherapists working in private practice in Austria. The registration allows a targeted and structured planning for physiotherapy services for the population in Austria. Furthermore, with a look in the register and the professional card it will be clear to the patients who is actually entitled to call themselves a physiotherapist and is allowed to practice. This raises the status as a legally regulated health profession and contributes to patient safety.

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