Ahead of the state government election in Tasmania, 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. We believe that all Tasmanians should have access to safe, high quality physiotherapy in order to live healthily and well. We recognise that the programs funded by the Tasmania Government are integral to achieving access to physiotherapy.
The funding and availability of health services continues to be a priority for the community in this state. As healthcare costs continue to grow, governments need to find solutions.
There is strong evidence that supports physiotherapy treatment to prevent unnecessary and sometimes risky surgeries. Spending on physiotherapy services is therefore an efficient and effective use of public funds.
In Tasmania, the APA represents over two thirds of Tasmanian physiotherapists. These members are calling for commitments in key areas, outlined below. You can read more about these in our letter to the major parties, Tasmanian Election Issues Summary , and in the parties’ responses
Funding primary contact physiotherapists in all emergency departments in Tasmania
Physiotherapy in the ED improves patient outcomes and reduces the rate of return visits to the emergency department. Patients also report high satisfaction with physiotherapy services in EDs, secondary to improvements in function. Inclusion of physiotherapy services in ED improves both the efficiency and continuity of care. An improvement in the continuation of care supports a safe return home and return to the community.
Expanding services for people with recurrent and persistent pain
Physiotherapy is a cost effective and efficient primary health resource in managing the chronic disease burden within the Tasmanian health system. Expanding services to address persistent and recurrent pain is a proven, cost-effective solution that will allow Tasmanians living with chronic conditions to get back to their normal work, study and family lives.
Legislating to allow prescribing for physiotherapists
The sustainability of the Tasmanian health system will improve when the expertise and roles of health professionals are optimised. Admission to a physiotherapy degree course in Australia requires ATAR scores of between 90 and 987. Thus, physiotherapists represent some of our most academically gifted professionals and offer substantial capability in our health system.
We believe that reappraising the role of physiotherapists and, in some cases, the gate-keeping mechanisms that occur before a physiotherapist is seen, can improve patient centred service delivery, smooth the pathways of the patient in the system and reduce ‘transaction costs’. Targets for this reappraisal should include allowing physiotherapists to play a role in optimising the use of medicines.
Legislating to allow physiotherapists to provide work capacity certificates
Physiotherapists are highly skilled in the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and have a primary role in the rehabilitation and return to work of injured workers. There would be economic and efficiency benefits to both the injured worker and the insurer if the treating physiotherapist is permitted to complete the work capacity certificate in addition to treating the patient with a musculoskeletal condition.