Striving for the best in the west

 

In this article, I would like to address members of the Western Australian Branch, highlight our achievements and thank everyone for their help.

The WA Branch has undertaken many new initiatives to engage members, and we have moved into a new office with fantastic facilities and world class technology. We have the ability to use video-conferencing and accommodate a variety of new methods of delivering clinical information.

Our local member numbers have increased to 3217, and the attendance numbers at lectures and events has been good. Earlier this year, the WA Branch Symposium gathered 116 people, and although the feedback was positive, we would be grateful for any suggestions to make it even better next time.

Our local advocacy efforts have continued and enabled us to forge our voice at relevant platforms. We have been working with decision-makers across the health sector in public, private and not-for-profit areas to find a common theme so that we can drive our message, and so Western Australians are able to access and benefit from excellent physiotherapy services. Our involvement with feedback forums for the Sustainable Health Review has been consistent in the past 12 months. We have articulated our preference for a strong and robust utilisation of the workforce to minimise costs, reduce waiting lists and achieve optimal clinical outcomes. Our voice has been heard and there are incremental changes to show that our representation has been valued. The final report for the Sustainable Health Review is due towards the end of this year and we hope it will take on board ideas that were discussed in feedback forums.

Another important matter that emerged from our advocacy efforts was a lack of local research data, which can be used to convince funders of health programs. The data will assist us in substantiating our claims about workforce utilisation and achievement of meaningful clinical change within fiscal cost constraints. Funding is available from Western Australian Health Translation Network for translational research, and I encourage all APA members to consider this funding opportunity to co-create and co-design research projects in collaboration with relevant teams from the private, public or not-for-profit sector. Meritorious research projects with clinically translational components will enable us to show economic value of our clinical expertise to funders, and will raise the profile of our profession.

Physiotherapy, as one of the leading professions in the healthcare space, can spearhead a major change if we focus our energies strategically to achieve substantial and meaningful clinical outcomes that can be applied in a fiscally restrained health environment. The future of physiotherapy looks bright both locally and nationally. Our profession has been growing at just over three per cent per annum and is expected to continue at this rate, or at a slightly higher rate. As our ways of understanding the human body and its mechanisms improve, physiotherapy is becoming more relevant and clinically applicable in its ability to facilitate people to live a healthier and longer life.

I complete my term as president of the WA Branch at the end of this year, and I have really enjoyed my role. All of us in physiotherapy as well as wider health sector want to do our best for clients. We want targeted, competent and safe clinical care, delivered in a timely and efficient manner. We are a community of caring, generous, ambitious, inquisitive and clever people. I am happy to report that the spirit of collegiality and unity runs in abundance through the blood vessels of our healthcare system.

I am sure through our sustained engagement and ongoing communication we will be able to keep making progress along our desired path.

I am grateful for support and generosity of thought offered by the national president, Phil Calvert, and CEO, Cris Massis, for being available when I needed someone to bounce ideas and reassurance to seek clarity. I am thankful for the time and conversations that I had with vice presidents Jenny Aiken and Darren Rivett, directors of the Board Mark Round, Rik Dawson and Amanda Mulcahy, past president Marcus Dripps, College chair Mike Ryan, Darren Beales, past vice president Shane Patman, National Advisory Council chair Richard Newsham-West, fellow National Advisory Council members, APA staff and fellow Branch Councillors.

I am also thankful to Western Australian ministers Roger Cook and Stephen Dawson, leaders across the healthcare industry James Williamson, Jennifer Campbell, Omar Khorshid, Robin Kruk, Learne Durrington, Shane Kelly, Peter Mott and Claire Byers, and Curtin University professors Stephanie Davies, Keith Hill and Peter Gardner, for sharing their thoughts about the future direction of our health system in WA.

I look forward to welcoming our next president and continuing to support the WA Branch Council.

 

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