The NSW Government yesterday announced plans to equip two new integrated health hubs in south west Sydney with physiotherapists and other allied health services.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) supports these plans and has released a statement calling for ongoing, targeted investment in the health hub and Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) model, with four further recommendations to address growing inequality, unmet needs and inefficiencies across the state’s health system.
APA NSW Branch President Shane Roenne said yesterday’s announcement is an encouraging move towards delivering more accessible and efficient models of healthcare in NSW.
“Equipping these UCCs with the full scope of our health workforce, including physiotherapy and other allied health services, will ensure these clinics can deliver on their purpose. Making it easier for patients to access the care and treatment they need will reduce the existing and unsustainable pressure on both GPs and emergency departments,” Mr Roenne said.
One in six GP presentations¹ and around 20-25 per cent of emergency department presentations² are for musculoskeletal conditions. These types of conditions can be assessed, diagnosed and discharged in a UCC by physiotherapists, who are highly-qualified, educated and Ahpra-regulated healthcare practitioners.
“This rollout presents NSW Government with a real opportunity to trial a new and more efficient pathway that will provide better and faster access to diagnosis, treatment, and care of musculoskeletal pain and conditions,” Mr Roenne said.
The APA’s statement outlines the value of integrating physiotherapy into Urgent Care Clinics and details four key pillars for the incoming Government to prioritise when enacting healthcare reform in NSW:
- Better community care to improve health outcomes for NSW
- Better use of hospital and community services to improve patient flow
- Prioritising rural physiotherapy
- Developing healthy and viable compensable schemes.
Read the full statement.
Shane Roenne is available for further comment.
¹Breadon, P. and Romanes, D. (2022) A new medicare: Strengthening general practice, Grattan Institute. Available at: grattan.edu.au/report/a-new-medicare-strengthening-general-practice
² Bird S, Thompson C, Williams KE. Primary contact physiotherapy services reduce waiting and treatment times for patients presenting with musculoskeletal conditions in Australian emergency departments: an observational study. J Physiother 2016;62(4):209–14.
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