Western Australia Election

On 11 March 2017, Western 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 Western Australia, over 3000 physiotherapists call themselves members of the APA. These members are calling for commitments in five key areas, outlined below. You can read more about these in our letter to the major parties, which now has responses from two of the major parties.

Physiotherapists in emergency departments

Placing primary contact physiotherapists in all emergency departments across Western Australia will have many benefits. Patient flow is improved. Waiting and treatment times are cut. There are fewer requests for imaging, which can be expensive. All in all, hospitals, patients and taxpayers win.

Increased numbers of physiotherapists at rural and regional hospitals

WA ElectionResidents in rural and regional areas are at higher risk of death from chronic disease. This includes things like heart disease, circulatory diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Physiotherapists provide care alongside doctors in treating many of these diseases in ways that are cost-effective and avoid surgery. However, access to physiotherapy services can be poor in some areas due to lack of funding.

Funding for rural and regional physiotherapists to access high-level education from tertiary hospitals

The geographic distances of Western Australia can make it expensive and logistically hard to access high-quality professional development. This is crucial for any physiotherapist’s ongoing learning that happens throughout their career. By providing funding for rural and regional physiotherapists to access continuing professional development, the government can ensure that distance is no barrier to learning.

Expansion of chronic pain services to ensure adequate service provision to both adults and children living with chronic pain

Chronic pain is a costly and debilitating disease. Many people suffer in silence, using ineffective drug treatments without support or other forms of evidence-based treatment. Expanding chronic pain services that have been proven is a cost-effective solution that will allow ordinary West Australians to get back to work, back to study and back to a fulfilling life.

Greater certainty for physiotherapy services in the public sector through the use of more permanent positions

Recent funding changes and cuts to some funding levels has created widespread uncertainty among physiotherapists working in WA’s public system. This has been detrimental to staff morale, staff turnover, patient outcomes and access to services in some parts of the community. Ongoing provision of health services is essential for the ability of services to plan and deliver the best quality care they can.