Originally members of the Physiotherapy Board were nominated by branches and voted on by Council.  In a letter to the Editor of the Journal in May 1974 Don McKenzie found it a matter of concern that the NZSP decided to appoint the Society’representative on the Physiotherapy Board rather than have them elected by national ballot,  as had been the case until then[1].  It was decided in 1974 to have members of the Physiotherapy Board elected by Postal Ballot.[2]

Concern at the length of appointments to the Physiotherapy Board were expressed in the NZPPA Report in 1977  Some were 2 years and some were 3 years[3].

Until the 1999 amendment the NZSP had nominating rights for three positions on the Physiotherapy Board (one practising hospital employee,  one private practitioner and one other)  The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has also had nominating rights,  in consultation with the NZSP,  for two positions.  Ex Officio positions included the Director General of Health as Chairperson (or his/her nominee);  two persons responsible for training physiotherapists and the Registrar (an employee of the Department/Ministry of Health). 

The procedure in 1994 was to advise NZSP members through the newsletter of forthcoming vacancies and call for nominations.  The names of the proposed nominees were sent to the relevant group for comment.  National Executive made the final decision and advised the Ministry of Health accordingly.  There was a three term of Office on the Physiotherapy Board for a maximum of three terms (nine Years)[4].  In 1995 the Deputy Director of Health advised the procedure used for making appointments to Occupational Registration Boards as follows

  1. The Minister of Health decides who will be appointed to Registration Board vacancies. 
  2. The Ministry of Health makes recommendations to the Minister on the nominations provided.  The Minister then considers nominations and makes a decision.  As the Minister has indicated that she wishes to make a choice,  the Ministry has asked the Society to submit more than one nomination for each vacancy.[5]

The structure of the Board was considered in this draft of June 1996.  The Ministry questioned the need to have two academic representatives on the Board.  It was noted that elections are costly to run and would not necessarily ensure that the most suitably qualified candidate was elected to the Board.  There was recognition that non Society members also need to be represented on the Board and one solution could be for the Society to nominate 3 members and the Minister of Health to appoint the fourth.  Comments were sought from NZSP members.

Matters to be considered about 1997/98 legislation tabled in Parliament were :-

Membership of Physiotherapy Board - Director General of Health or nominee,  2 physiotherapist members of academic staff of Schools,  3 elected physiotherapists (elected by profession) and 2 others appointed by the Minister - Board should elect own Chair.

Disciplinary Tribunal - (noted that separation from the registration function of the Board could lead to an increase in costs and that a shared Health Occupational Disciplinary Tribunal may be possible)

Protection of Title - (agreed there should be retention of title for physiotherapist and physical therapist, but masseur to be deleted)

Definition of Physiotherapy  (agreed that a definition not be included in the Act as requires regular review and legislation can be in place for many years without change).

Administration responsibilities (agreed that a Body Corporate with clear objectives and accountabilities rather than the current Health Occupational Unit within the Ministry of Health, would be the best option for the long term.

The 1999 amendment restructured the Board, taking away the nominating rights of the NZSP and the NZMA.  It also removed the Ministry of Health and training school ex officio positions.  Provision for lay member representation and election of the Board Chairperson were also included in this amendment.

The major functions of the Act and the Board are to determine who shall get registered,  maintain the register of physiotherapists and determine who should go off the register of physiotherapists.  To manage these responsibilities the Act provides for a number of committees to be established (eg. Education,  Discipline).  Training providers are monitored to ensure their graduates meet the professional competencies determined by the Board.  The NZSP has had members on the Education Committee of the Board for many years.  Complaints about the competence of a registered physiotherapist can be made to the Board.  Following a preliminary investigation into the allegation,  a formal hearing about the complaint is held by the disciplinary committee and action may follow.  Up until the legislative amendments in 1999 the Board was serviced by the Department/Ministry of Health.  The amendment provided for the Board to become a Body Corporate and manage its own affairs.

The Board supported two members - Francis Wilson and Andrea Vujnovich - to attend the WCPT Congress in Washington.  Some time was spent in workshops to discuss disciplinary issues and procedures for disciplinary hearings[6].

The Physiotherapy Board received concern from the Occupational Therapists Board regarding Physiotherapy practitioners calling themselves “occupational physiotherapists” which caused confusion with the public[7].


[1] NZJP May 1974 page 48

[2] E/M 14-9-74  -

[3] E/M 1-10-77

[4] E/M 25-11-94

[5] E/M 17 -2-95 -

[6] August 1995 page 10

[7] N/L September 1995  page 2

comments powered by Disqus

About this site  Disclaimer
© 2024 Physiotherapy New Zealand. All Rights Reserved.