Full steam ahead

an open door with the outside world pouring in

Full steam ahead

an open door with the outside world pouring in

As the year comes to an end, we reflect, as always, on what we have and have not achieved and look for the opportunities that may well be on the horizon in 2024.

The federal government’s scope of practice review, Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce, is well underway and the APA has been very active in developing our vision of our scope of practice and ensuring that the government and funders are fully aware of the difference between physiotherapy and other professions. 

We pushed for this review late last year in a meeting with Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler. 

This kind of direct canvassing of political opinion and understanding of physiotherapy enables us to emphasise our value, skill set and distinction within the health system.

Our Department of Veterans’ Affairs consumer strategy has been very successful, leading to significant talks with the chief of staff to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. 

Many members also had robust meetings with their local members of parliament to bring to their attention the price disparities in the department’s payments for allied health services. 

This was followed up by a number of questions being tabled in Senate estimates.

We have continued our Reconciliation Action Plan journey, offering a cultural safety module for members that aligns with the Australian Physiotherapy Council, the Council of Physiotherapy Deans Australia and New Zealand and the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. 

This gives all physiotherapists the opportunity to start, continue or restart their personal and professional journey of cultural awareness and safety. You can find the cultural safety module on the APA website.

The APA has a consistent message on healthcare reform and I have been very encouraged by our ongoing and widespread media exposure on this topic. 

We have had seats at many tables—putting forward our arguments on reform, policy, quality and safety—including at the National Health Leadership Forum in Canberra. 

This has clearly laid out our strategic direction and proposals for structural reform so that other peak bodies, government departments, ministers and lobbyists understand what we are asking for, at the heart of which is that all Australians should have access to quality physiotherapy. 

We continue to pursue partnerships with other stakeholders who are attempting to understand attrition and retention within the profession. 

We have invested significant resources and energy into this area and are encouraging the federal government to commit to developing an allied health workforce strategy. 

The IGNITE 2023 national conference in Brisbane was a huge success. 

It was our first scientific conference since Adelaide in 2019 and it allowed domestic and international leaders, clinicians, researchers, students, regulators and staff to reconnect for the betterment of the profession and our patients. 

It made me very proud to see everyone together again—socialising, networking, engaging with our exhibitors, laughing and learning from each other. 

Thank you to our scientific committee, entity groups, APA staff, volunteers and engaged members for making this conference one of the best to date.

Thank you too to the APA Board of Directors, CEO Anja Nikolic, the Executive Leadership Team, staff, the National Advisory Council and our 32,000 members for your continued support, dedication and passion for the profession and for the significant contribution that you make to your communities. 

Australia is certainly in good hands.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe festive period and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2024.

Take care, stay safe.

>>Scott Willis APAM APA National President

Follow Scott on X or email. 


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