Boosting physiotherapy in New South Wales vital for patient care

17 March 2015

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is urging all political parties to commit to increasing resourcing and scope of practice for allied health professionals – in particular, physiotherapists – to reduce the burden on the state’s healthcare, as part of their campaign promises.

On behalf of 5,550 NSW physiotherapists, APA New South Wales Branch President Cameron Elliott has written to leaders and health representatives from the Liberal, Labor and Greens parties urging them to commit to:

  • Guaranteeing support for legislative changes to enable physiotherapists to refer direct to specialists with a Medicare rebate if elected. The change would lead to $13 million in savings nationally each year (i) as detailed in the APA’s Pre-Budget Submission for 2015-16.
  • Investing in and supporting advanced and extended practice physiotherapy roles, including in emergency departments which has proven to reduce patient wait times, achieve higher patient satisfaction rates and free up medical specialists to manage more serious life-threatening presentations (ii).
  • Endorsing credentialed physiotherapists to autonomously prescribing medications within their scope of practice to avoid delays in treatment and improve patient health outcomes (iii).
  • Improving physiotherapy access for rural and remote communities to help address the healthcare barriers such as reduced access, higher costs and longer waiting times compared to people living in major cities.
  • Committing to sufficient remuneration, retention and professional opportunities for physiotherapists.

“While we’re yet to hear back from the parties on these issues, we’ve been pleased to see some already committing to boosting funding to allied health services,” Mr Elliot said. “We welcome Baird Government’s commitment to boost around 300 allied health professionals in hospitals and establish 20 ‘one-stop-shop’ community health centres across NSW to meet the increasing demand for allied health services like physiotherapy. We look forward to other parties sharing their commitments to boost physiotherapy.”

“We’ll be urging whoever’s successful this election to stick to their promises and see these vital changes take effect to achieve better health outcomes for patients and the healthcare system.”

To view the APA’s request in detail, visit our Advocacy webpage.  

For further information, or to speak with an expert physiotherapist, please contact

Katie Croft - Australian Physiotherapy Association
P: (+61) 3 9092 0891 M (+61) 0413 780 545

(i) Joshua M. Byrnes A C and Tracy A. Comans A B. Medicare rebate for specialist medical practitioners from physiotherapy referrals: analysis of the potential impact on the Australian healthcare system. 23 October 2014. A Centre for Applied Health Economics, Griffith University. Meadowbrook. Australian Health Review – viewed at: on 24 October 2014

(ii) Centre for Health Services Development, July 2014, HWA Expanded Scopes of Practice Program Evaluation: Physiotherapists in the Emergency Department Sub-Project Final Report , available at on 4 February 2015

(iii) ABS, 4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2013-14 Quality Declaration, Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2014