Inconsistent lockdown restrictions on essential health services applied by the Western Australian (WA) Government shows an urgent need for a national approach to ensure all Australians have access to vital health services during the ongoing pandemic.
Following their previous lockdown, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) wrote to the WA Government alerting them to the impact on patients’ health care during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The APA called on the WA Government to allow face to face physiotherapy care for patients with critical need.
These calls have again been ignored with the denial of patient access to essential face to face physiotherapy treatments during the current lockdown.
“Physiotherapy is an essential service. The Federal Government recognised physiotherapy as such last year when the country first went into lockdown,” APA President Scott Willis said.
“We now have differing rules and regulations across the country, and there are thousands of physiotherapists and their patients left confused and frustrated by the inconsistent lockdown measures.
“Some of our patients need urgent and on-going treatment which must be delivered in person. As things stand, neither the patient nor their health provider has clarity about how to ensure they are getting the care they need.
“While the APA understand the need for hard measures in the light of the Delta variant, the WA Government has chosen to disregard our significant concerns about removing access to face to face allied health care during lockdowns,” Mr Willis said,
There are significant health implications of limiting access to critical and urgent physiotherapy including worsening, or exacerbation of, health problems that may result in unnecessary and avoidable presentation at Emergency Departments.
Earlier this year, the RACGP and the APA issued a joint statement calling on State and Territory governments to ensure ongoing responses to the pandemic include access to essential face-to-face health care, such as physiotherapy, during future COVID-19 lockdown events.
With New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory all under some form of restrictions and lockdowns, it is time for national agreement to ensure vital health services remain operating.
The APA continues to strongly urge all governments to adopt consistent, reasoned measures to ensure access to vital healthcare is maintained.
Scott Willis is available for further comment.
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