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Physiotherapy is not a luxury
Marcus Dripps

The Australian government would be very short-sighted if it did not ensure access to physiotherapy for all Australians as part of its upcoming health system reforms.’

Physiotherapy is not a luxury item—it is a necessity for people with physical pain and illness. We know that physiotherapy significantly reduces the need for invasive surgeries and hospital beds so treating physiotherapy as a ‘nice-to-have’ in the government’s funding reforms would be very short-sighted.

As a profession, we have worked too hard over the years, in areas such as research, education and training, to have our world-class physiotherapy services get lost in hospital funding reforms.

This year the APA celebrates 110 years. In our 110th year, we will be making it a priority to ensure that the government’s agenda to move to a consumer-led healthcare system includes physiotherapy for all Australians that need it.

As part of this, the APA will be breaking down barriers to referrals and treatment session limits to ensure that physiotherapy, for major health problems such as obesity, back pain and osteoarthritis, is adequately subsidised.

We’ll also be addressing flaws in the current system to promote technical efficiencies that provide high-quality healthcare at minimum cost.

There are several key areas we believe demand urgent reform. People living in isolated regions should have access to Medicaresubsidised physiotherapy consultations through new audio-visual technologies—in this day and age, patients shouldn’t need to attend consultations in person if doing so poses considerable difficulty.

We’ll also be calling for urgent reform in service barriers and systemwide healthcare gaps for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities—this month’s annual Close the Gap campaign is a timely reminder of the importance of reform in this area. We all have a role to play in closing the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the rest of Australia.

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