Warm welcome greets attendees
The jubilation at the first post-pandemic gathering of physiotherapists in three years has been, for APA National President Scott Willis, akin to getting ‘the band back together again’.
As physiotherapists looked ahead to explore the possibilities and opportunities for themselves and the profession, concomitant work by the government to renew and bolster healthcare in Australia was taking place behind the scenes.
Buoyed by the energy and vibe of having FOCUS 2022 attendees all together, face to face, Scott took the opportunity to express his pride at how well the profession had navigated the murky waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘It’s been three years since the last conference back in Adelaide and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through these past three years again,’ Scott said.
‘I’m really proud of the profession and how we’ve responded to the pandemic.
'We continued to serve our communities, we were very innovative and we focused on the consumer’s needs. We just got on with the job.’
Celebrating the conference as an opportunity for education, inspiration and planning, Scott noted that the forum’s ability to allow physiotherapists to reconnect and reflect on the pandemic should also be acknowledged.
‘Renewed focus is the reason we are here today and why we keep coming back,’ Scott said.
‘Let us each challenge ourselves to really tune in so that we can look ahead with more focus, more reinvigoration and more dedication and help the people who depend on us.’
Central to Scott’s welcome was the official release of Future of physiotherapy in Australia—a 10-year vision policy white paper.
'The report clearly shows the value of physiotherapy to the healthcare system and examines the reforms required to develop the future role of physiotherapy in our health system, Scott said.
‘We want to position the APA as a leading, sought-after policy voice and we want to influence national policy decision-making about the structure and funding of physiotherapy services in Australia,’ he told conference attendees.
‘Everyone knows that physiotherapy plays a critical role in the health of many, many Australians.
'Our approach is to understand the budget constraints and value priorities and then provide government with the identified opportunities for comprehensive health reforms that deliver two things—efficiencies and improved patient outcomes.’
Acknowledging receipt of a copy of the white paper from the APA, Federal Health Minister Mark Butler delivered his welcome to conference attendees via a prerecorded video.
‘I really commend the APA for considering the changing face of healthcare in the development of its white paper.
'It provides a key 10-year plan, delivering the four outcomes that patients and governments want: high-value care, reduced costs, improved efficiency and patient ownership of their own care journey,’ Minister Butler said.
‘It’s a timely release as we, a new government, embark on our plan to strengthen Medicare and reform primary care.
‘While you look ahead and explore the future possibilities and opportunities for physiotherapy, the government is working towards renewing and bolstering healthcare for modern Australia. I very much look forward to working with the APA and President Scott Willis in the future.’
>> For more on the FOCUS 2022 conference, read the articles on the InMotion website.
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