Voting for physiotherapy

 

We have a federal election pending, by May next year at the latest, and part of our policy strategic plan is to demonstrate the worth of the profession and the APA within the health system.

We have finalised the vision and options paper requested by Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt, after we met with him to discuss the economic Value of Physiotherapy report that the APA commissioned last year, and are awaiting a further meeting.

We hope that this will clear a pathway for us to advance physiotherapy within the primary and public healthcare systems.

The primary healthcare reform committee on which our immediate past president Phil Calvert sits has finalised its recommendations and sent them to Minister Hunt for his consideration.

We would be happy to see these recommendations implemented and funded and thank Phil for his tireless work promoting the profession’s worth in a very medical-dominated committee.

We also met with the Australian Digital Health Agency to ascertain the next phase of the government’s digital infrastructure rollout.

The APA was the only peak medical body to meet with them individually and I used the time to explain how physiotherapy can assist with and make use of this innovative strategy.

Benefits include optimising secure messaging, access to My Health Record and interoperability with practice management systems, telehealth infrastructures, patient outcome measures and government bodies such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Medicare.

The APA will make a formal submission over the coming months to strengthen our commitment to the government’s future plans that sit within the APA’s strategy.

We have continued to lobby the federal government on the specific details of the new aged care funding model that will be in place in October 2022.

We met with a senior policy officer in Minister Hunt’s office and advocated for the economic value of physiotherapy within the aged care system, including falls prevention, staff injury prevention programs, restorative and re-enablement care, full scope of practice delivery and limiting barriers to accessing physiotherapy.

I recently met with independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann and discussed the poor government policy on access to same-day treatments for musculoskeletal issues.

We also discussed the government’s reform policy regarding treatment cycles and low remuneration for physiotherapy.

We will request to attend and contribute to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and hope to bring to light the inequalities within the veteran community.

We have been contacted by multiple media outlets for comments on dementia, cancer and exercise, Indigenous health, women’s and men’s pelvic health, and exercising during a pandemic.

This is a credit to the APA’s many media releases and to engaged members providing their expertise and time to advance the public’s view of physiotherapy.

I was very fortunate to represent the APA at the American Physical Therapy Association’s centennial international congress.

It was an honour to describe to an international audience the cultural journey towards our third Reconciliation Action Plan next year.

I spoke about cultural safety and bravery, governance at a regulatory level, truth telling, truth listening and some of the specific actions taken by the APA.

We are increasing our political voice, media presence and member engagement.

The aim is to advance our scope of practice, improve access to physiotherapy, protect our economic independence and continue to support workforce sustainability and innovation.

Take care and stay safe.

 

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