South Australia Election

On 17 March 2018, South Australians will vote in a state election. The APA is asking every party to commit to providing a world-class health system by ensuring that physiotherapy is provided in key areas and settings where it can make a significant difference. This includes improvements to people’s quality of life, as well as savings in health budgets, which we know are reaching unsustainable levels.

In South Australia, over 1600 physiotherapists call themselves members of the APA. These members are calling for commitments in key areas, outlined below. You can read more about these in our letter to the major parties and in the parties’ responses from the SA Liberals and the Labor Party.

Permanent Home for Spinal and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Units

  • New spinal and brain injury unit at TQEH and adequate funding and resources for general rehabilitation upgrades and services

APA is seeking a commit to implementing its previous announcement to build new rehabilitation units for spinal and brain injury patients at TQEH, and ensure that an adequate proportion of the $270m budget is quarantined for spinal and brain injury rehabilitation services. Adequate funding (whether within the existing $270m TQEH budget or in addition to this) also needs to be quarantined for general rehabilitation services at TQEH.

  • Ongoing consultation with senior Allied Health inc. physiotherapists

Allied health practitioners (including physiotherapists) engaged in meaningful consultation and in formulating the plans for the rehabilitation spaces is essential to ensure the new facilities meet the needs of the rehabilitation patients it will service.

  • Rehabilitation – adequate therapy areas in close proximity to wards

Adequate facilities for all rehabilitation areas (spinal, brain and general rehabilitation), including a dedicated hydrotherapy pool and therapy areas, and functional spatial relationships to facilitate effective workflows between wards, therapy gyms and clinicians’ office space are required.

Transitional Arrangements at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre (HRC)

  • Sustainment Plan for HRC

HRC will need some short term physical upgrades if the centre is to operate efficiently and at the high level it currently does, until 2022. All remaining staff need to be fully resourced and supported throughout the four-year transition period.

Hydrotherapy Rehabilitation Facilities - Design and Use

  • Pool design

Now that hydrotherapy pools have been built at Modbury Hospital and the new rehabilitation facilities at Flinders, there is an opportunity in the planning of the proposed pool at TQEH to learn from the builds at these sites.

We are seeking a thorough review of the Flinders and Modbury pools in the planning process for the new pool at TQEH, with a view to replicating some of the positive aspects and avoiding deficiencies while allocating a budget to fix deficiencies identified with either pool.

  • Community access to appropriate pools

Access to appropriate pool facilities for the wider community to maintain their physical health, independent of valuable public hydrotherapy facilities.

Advanced Scope Physiotherapy Roles

  • Physiotherapists in Emergency Departments

The APA has long advocated for advanced practice physiotherapist roles – including the ability to assess patients and prescribe appropriate medications in Emergency Departments as well as in pre- and post-elective surgery settings. Advanced scope physiotherapists in all other Australian States currently work in Emergency Departments and have proven to be effective in reducing wait times and freeing medical specialists to manage more serious life-threatening presentations.

APA is seeking commitment to funding for the extended scope physiotherapy roles in Emergency Departments across SA Health

  • Expansion of successful advanced scope physiotherapy roles

Embedding proven high-value models that optimise physiotherapy scope of practice in all emergency departments and priority specialist outpatient services across South Australia to ensure that patients are:

  • provided with the right care at the right time
  • improved patient outcomes and satisfaction,
  • improved waiting times and
  • improved patient flow,
  • among other efficiency gains there has been little advancement on these small services.

Improving Country Health IT Capacity

  • Bandwidth and IT infrastructure

The APA seeks an assurance from the incoming Government that it will provide funding to upgrade the bandwidth and IT infrastructure to allow reliable and quality online interaction and use of software programs. Funding mobile video conferencing units in SA country health centres will provide much needed access for allied health and other clinicians.

  • Video Conferencing

The APA seeks an assurance from the incoming government that it will fund additional mobile video conferencing units and other telehealth equipment in all SA country health centres by committing to funding upgrades to the bandwidth and IT infrastructure to allow reliable and quality online interaction and use of health software programs.


  • Public Sector physiotherapy careers

The APA seeks an assurance from the incoming government to recognise the experienced, post-graduate qualified physiotherapists working in the public system through appropriate remuneration and reviewing employment arrangements of public sector physiotherapists to provide for more opportunities for career advancement and recognition.

  • Seven Day services issue

The APA physiotherapists, who routinely perform weekend work, are not afforded the same additional leave incentives as nurses who work weekends. We are seeking commitment to providing the same incentives and leave conditions for physiotherapists undertaking seven day rosters as for nurses who work seven day rosters.