Medicare Benefits Schedule Review requires formal representation by physiotherapists

23 April 2015

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) welcomes the Abbott Government’s move to reform the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), but warns that unless the Government acknowledges the key influence of physiotherapists in managing chronic conditions, real change could be difficult to achieve.

The Government is establishing a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce and a Primary Health Care Advisory Group to oversee the more than 5,500 services listed under the MBS, not all of which reflect best clinical practice.

Marcus Dripps, APA National President, believes that physiotherapists need to play a formal role in these groups.

“These groups must include representatives from physiotherapy, the profession that comprises an important workforce of 27,000 registered physiotherapists who serve at the coalface of chronic illness and pain in Australia.

“In many chronic conditions, conservative physiotherapy management is best practice, and has superseded many invasive and expensive medical procedures that no longer provide evidence of clinical benefit.

“If physiotherapists do not play a greater part in advising Government, the importance of this evidence may be neglected,” Marcus Dripps said.

The APA is pleased that Health Minister, Sussan Ley, has said that each reform area would draw on a broad range of expertise and experiences to inform the process, including clinicians (GPs and specialists), consumer and patient representatives, academics, Primary Health Networks, nurses, allied health professionals, health economists and states and territories.

“The APA strongly emphasises the importance of coordination between allied health providers, medical practitioners and patients, and we are pleased that Minister Ley specified that allied health professionals will be drawn in to inform the review. The Medicare Benefits Schedule should support innovative systems and funding models that include allied health,” he said.


About the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA)

The APA is the peak body representing the interests of Australian physiotherapists and their patients. It is a national organisation with state and territory branches and specialty subgroups. The APA represents more than 17,000 members who conduct more than 21 million consultations each year. To find a physiotherapist in your area, visit www.physiotherapy.asn.au/

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

Ruth Heenan, Australian Physiotherapy Association
T 03 9092 0813, 0416 565 332 E Ruth.Heenan@physiotherapy.asn.au
Pammy Kokoras, Undertow Media
T 03 9421 1317 or 0421 105 710 E Pammy@undertowmedia.com
Rachael Horan, Undertow Media
T 03 9421 1318 or 0426 631 316 E rachael@undertowmedia.com