Partnering for the profession
Strong partnerships between professional associations in healthcare are important.
Collectively, we are in the business of supporting our members to deliver the highest quality health outcomes to patients. This can be achieved through the sharing of information, developing advocacy strategies where goals align, working together on the delivery of professional development and, certainly, having a shared focus on quality multidisciplinary care.
Many of the contemporary governance processes the APA Board of Directors has implemented in recent history, has been informed through collaborative benchmarking with our peers. We are able to achieve higher outcomes for our members and the general public when we work together. The APA’s re-joining of Allied Health Professions Australia was partly in strong recognition that we are in fact ‘allies’ in most of our pursuits.
Many members will be aware of some concerns regarding the introduction of non-medical prescribing, which has been raised by the Australian Medical Association. This is a positive thing for physiotherapy, as it helps us to raise the debate in the public sphere, and enables us to articulate why an initiative like this can be of great benefit to both the patient and the system.
Another critical strategic goal of the APA is to provide a pathway for physiotherapists to be able to refer directly to medical specialists, which will provide a cost benefit to the health system, and also provide a better pathway for our patients. Importantly, this goal is in alignment with a number of other allied health professions, and our success is more likely when we work together.
Currently, the APA is looking forward to working collaboratively with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), following their publication of a publically available resource titled, ‘The collaboration of physiotherapists and accredited exercise physiologists in the healthcare setting’. Many APA members have raised their concerns at the content of this publication; particularly that there has been an attempt to describe the scope and role of physiotherapy and then promote this to key parts of the healthcare system.
In April, APA National President Marcus Dripps formally advised ESSA of the APA’s significant concerns, and requested the publication be immediately removed from ESSA’s website, with an immediate cessation of its distribution.
But again, despite the significant concerns that the APA has with this particular document, issues like this need to be viewed as opportunities for us to engage with our peers, and strongly promote physiotherapy and its role to the broader community. Our focus within the new strategic plan to continue to look outwardly in the healthcare system and promote physiotherapy effectively. has never been more important. It is a task that is challenging, but also really exciting.
PHIL CALVERT, APAM
APA National Vice President
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