A matter of respect and duty: Urgent call for review in veterans’ healthcare funding

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A matter of respect and duty: Urgent call for review in veterans’ healthcare funding

Field of poppies

The government recently announced exposure draft legislation to rectify the complex system veterans navigate to access their entitlements—a system that the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide found compounded trauma. The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) urges a critical next step: review the fee schedule for veterans' healthcare and ensure veterans can receive the comprehensive and accessible care they need and deserve. 

The APA has mobilised members across the country in a campaign for reform to the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) model of care. Many MPs have written to Minister Matt Keogh on behalf of their constituents. The Minister has repeatedly declined requests to meet with the APA. 

Veterans such as Amat Binnoore and Curtley Nelson have shared their personal stories throughout the campaign, highlighting the significant impact of the DVA model of care on their ability to receive necessary and timely treatment.  

The current model, which restricts veterans to receiving treatment for only one condition per day, is proving to be a substantial barrier to accessing comprehensive care for complex medical conditions. This policy not only exacerbates veterans' health challenges but also places undue financial and administrative burdens on both the veterans and their healthcare providers. 

The recent APA report, Physiotherapy in Veterans’ Care, sheds light on the growing demand for physiotherapy services among the veteran community and the many challenges practitioners encounter when seeking to provide appropriate care.  

“Amat and Curtley’s experiences underscore a systemic failure in our care for veterans. It is inexcusable that our veterans' access to necessary healthcare is hampered by outdated policies and inadequate funding. The minister's unwillingness to meet with us signals a lack of commitment to resolving the urgent needs of our veterans," APA National President Scott Willis said. 

"Our report clearly shows that the current level of DVA funding does not meet the demand nor the cost of providing quality care. When nine in ten physiotherapists say they cannot sustain care for veterans under this model¹, it's evident that immediate action is required. We cannot allow bureaucratic red tape to compromise the wellbeing of those who have served our nation. 

"This is not a mere administrative oversight; it's a matter of national respect and duty. We need a review of the DVA fee schedule that considers the complexity of treating veterans. Our campaign has garnered significant support, reflecting the community's demand for justice and better care for our veterans. It's high time the minister listens and acts," Mr. Willis said. 

The APA remains committed to working alongside veterans, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to achieve a fair and effective model of care. It is imperative that the government re-evaluates its stance and takes immediate steps to ensure that our veterans receive the respect, support, and care they deserve.



¹ Australian Physiotherapy Association (2023) Physiotherapy in Veterans’ Care. Rep. Physiotherapy in Veterans’ Care


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