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First Word

Recognising the value of physiotherapy

It is with great enthusiasm that I write to you on behalf of the Board of Directors of the APA, and welcome you to the first edition of In Motion for 2017. In his final First Word column in December last year, Marcus Dripps wrote about service and leadership. I was keen to pick up on that thread in recognising some of our servant leaders.


The incredible passion and efforts of Marcus, retiring vicepresident Shane Patman and retiring independent director Louise McCann have been considerable. These three people have committed a significant part of their lives to the APA and the profession, and I look forward to working closely with them into the future. On behalf of our members, staff and the profession, thank you.


In 2017, I warmly welcome Mark Round, Rik Dawson and Louise McElvogue, who join the Board as non-executive directors. They have clearly set themselves to serve the APA with a sense of professionalism, enthusiasm and purpose. There is no doubt they will make an important impact and contribution.


The health environment in Australia becomes more competitive and complex on a daily basis. Reforms at federal and state level, new funding models, increasing market presence by other professions and the importance of technology change are features of this. Being innovative and agile is essential to compete. Not just for now, but for the future.


Key to our future success as a profession will be the level to which we are able to clearly and consistently articulate what physiotherapy actually is, why it is important, and where it adds value. In essence, why should someone see a physio instead of someone else?

Or why should a funding body resource physiotherapy models of care instead of others? Given the significant breadth of physiotherapy practice, and its important role in a range of environments and clinical areas, this isn’t always easy to do in a clear, concise and consistent way. But it is imperative that we do.


This year, the APA will continue to increase its efforts to help the whole community recognise the full benefit of physiotherapy. There will be a noticeable increase in our public-facing marketing and promotion to help achieve this. But any campaign to improve understanding of physiotherapy practice has to be embedded in the words and actions of our members wherever they work and live. Any successful consumer-focused effort needs champions in the communities in which they work.


I look forward to working with all of you, as champions of the profession, to help achieve this, so we can continue to make a tangible difference in the choice of our consumers, potential consumers and community at large.


Phil Calvert, APAM


APA National President


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