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Promoting the value of physiotherapy in the community

In talking with members around the country, National President Phil Calvert, myself and other directors have noted an increasing concern around other professions challenging the traditional roles of the physiotherapist. This has particularly been evident in the private sector where competition has grown, but is also now evident in the public sector. There is no doubt that in the rehabilitation space, the relatively recent rise of new professions, both within mainstream allied health and within alternative health, has amplified some members’ perceptions that the APA could do more to promote the value of physiotherapy to consumers and those responsible for healthcare funding.

 

Well, let me just say the APA and its directors hear these concerns and understand the importance of this issue to many of its members. There are nearly 30 000 registered physiotherapists in Australia—we should be using our combined influence to promote our professional skills to our patients and the unique value we bring to the larger healthcarefunding table.

 

So with 24 000 members and growing, how is the APA helping to achieve this? Here are a few APA initiatives that are currently in progress to better position our members in an increasingly competitive healthcare market.

 

Consumer campaign

 

The APA has just commenced its largest ever marketing campaign to position physiotherapy as the profession of choice for individual consumers. This has been underpinned by market research and expert advice. A significant investment has been made in advertisements in targeted centres around the country, using media ranging from traditional radio and television, to ‘transit’ messages and images on buses and trams, to cutting-edge social media platforms. The Board of Directors is committed to supporting this campaign in the longer term needed to achieve its full impact.

 

Career pathway

 

The APA has just commenced its largest ever marketing campaign to position physiotherapy as the profession of choice for individual consumers. This has been underpinned by market research and expert advice. A significant investment has been made in advertisements in targeted centres around the country, using media ranging from traditional radio and television, to ‘transit’ messages and images on buses and trams, to cutting-edge social media platforms. The Board of Directors is committed to supporting this campaign in the longer term needed to achieve its full impact.

Prescribing rights

 

The APA is continuing to advance its case that physiotherapists with the appropriate further education and with suitable regulation should have the option of limited prescribing rights to help manage their patients’ medications. This case was promoted through an evidence-based and fully costed submission to the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, and we continue to communicate with the PBA and other key stakeholders so that our members can join podiatrists and optometrists who currently enjoy prescribing rights.

 

Political advocacy

 

This year Phil Calvert and CEO Cris Massis have spearheaded an advocacy campaign that has included meetings with relevant ministers and shadow ministers. Connections are being developed that are already beginning to bear fruit. The intention is for a structured, rolling series of meetings to cultivate the type of relationships required to ensure that physiotherapy is front of mind, and its value is well understood when decisions related to health funding and scope of practice are being made by governments.

 

As members, it is important we do not lose sight of the fact that the APA is a member organisation—its resources and success in advancing physiotherapy is entirely determined by its membership. Through the APA, we each have a role to play in promoting the value of physiotherapy in the community.

Darren Rivett, APAM

APA National Vice President

 

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