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A moment to reflect
Marcus Dripps

As 2013 draws to a close it is tempting to reflect on the year that has gone.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been the chair of the APA Board of Directors during a time when we are able to progress issues that matter to physiotherapists and the APA. I am indebted to those who led the Association before me and positioned it to be able to take advantage of the current circumstances. The stable leadership and structure that has come about from previous work on governance has allowed us to be more agile in responding to issues. The culture of strategic leadership that has been developed has allowed us to be more future focused. The stable financial position has allowed us to make some investments in member value, knowledge and voice.

This was the platform at the start of the year, and our focus has been in three key themes:

  • building a future-focused culture in APA entities
  • increasing collaboration between APA entities, particularly branches and national groups
  • focusing on building and maintaining relationships with external stakeholders.

It would be difficult to list highlights of the year without starting with the 2014 APA member insurance package, which could potentially save the profession $5 million per year. In simple terms, professional indemnity and public liability insurance now forms part of membership.

The InPractice 2025 project is a great exemplar of the future-focused culture we want to encourage in the provision of physiotherapy services. It helped identify eight strategic drivers that will shape future practices, and six key features. This will be expanded on in the coming years to help practices build the tools they need to take advantage of future opportunities.

Shifting to public sector, we have been engaged with state and commonwealth governments, departments and organisations in working towards greater scope and roles for physiotherapists. We plan to do further work in 2014 regarding a career path in the public sector and progressing other key issues such as prescribing rights, models of care, professional education and support.

The APA developed its first Reconciliation Action Plan, focusing on supporting physiotherapists’ contributions to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In terms of knowledge, the take up of APA PD has continued to grow strongly. We had more than 36 000 attendances for in-person or electronic events, of which the highlight was the New Moves conference, with more than 2200 delegates from 25 countries.

In it’s 60th year, the Journal of Physiotherapy will adopt an online open-access model. This will have benefits for the journal’s reputation, for submitting researchers, and in maintaining the reputation of Australian physiotherapy as world leading.

We continued to support the profession in countries in our region, and take a leadership role in the Asia-West Pacific region of WCPT. Our relationship with countries where the profession is further developed has also strengthened, with an MOU planned with the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association.

We made many efforts to increase the profile of physiotherapy and the APA, and it is our plan to continue to do so. This has included many traditional advocacy activities around physiotherapy-specific and broader health issues, as well as efforts to increase our media presence.

It has been a good year, and it has been a great honour to serve as the National President. I’d like to acknowledge the work of my colleagues on the Board, office bearers and member volunteers, and the tireless work of CEO Cris Massis and the team who strive to deliver great member service every day.

APA National President

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