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Do we want to lead? Are we ready? Let’s go...
Phil Calvert

When we look back at the history of physiotherapy in Australia, we have had many great leaders. As a profession, we have also lead a large number of reforms that have been beneficial to the Australian community.

When I look back at changes in the Australian physiotherapy profession which have been beneficial to our patients, these changes have often also been important steps in strengthening the profession.

In the 1970s we came out from under the umbrella of medicine. Through a change to the structure of a number of physiotherapy programs at university, we achieved academic autonomy. Through the APA becoming an independent entity, we were increasingly able to advocate effectively for changes to benefit our patients. Through gaining direct access to physiotherapy services, we were better able to meet the needs of people in our communities.

Each of these initiatives required internal leaders, and professionwide leadership.

Today, this idea applies equally in a number of our advocacy priorities. In particular, the issue of issuing initial certificates of work capacity would be a great enabler of change in our profession and our ability to meet the needs of our communities.

Achieving the ability to refer to medical specialists would fundamentally change a patient’s experience of care.

Similarly, our advocacy around physiotherapists prescribing in the future will fundamentally change the way we can meet our patients’ health needs.

So are we ready to lead? Can we demonstrate value to the public?

Finally, to quote Professor Lance Twomey, APA Honoured Member and former APA president:

‘All professions start from humble beginnings, but whether they flourish or decay depends substantially on the skills and abilities of the early practitioners and their ability to convince the public that they are able to provide a substantial benefit to society.’


Marcus Dripps, APAM
APA National President

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