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Local perspectives on prescribing rights
NT Manager Carolyn Coleman recently visited Alice Springs to host a members forum. The networking event, attended by 12 physiotherapists, gave members an opportunity to discuss a range of professional issues, including the APA’s focus on achieving physiotherapy prescribing.
Karen Schneider, APA Sports Physiotherapist, gave her take on the importance of prescribing for the profession.
‘Many health professions, not just physiotherapy, are seeking the legislative right to prescribe medicines in order to lessen the burden on the GP system,
reduce patient and taxpayer costs
, and improve timely patient outcomes. This would be particularly advantageous to those who live in rural and regional Australia,’ Karen said.
‘Not all physiotherapists will need, or want, to prescribe, but there are many instances such as in ED settings, assessment clinics, and in private practice where if a physiotherapist has appropriate skills and qualifications, they should be able to prescribe.’
Pippa Tessman, APA Sports Physiotherapist and Physiotherapy Board of Australia NT member, noted that physiotherapists in the United Kingdom, who are suitably credentialed, have
recently gained independent prescribing rights
. Prior to this, some physiotherapists in the UK had already gained the right to prescribe under supervision. However, it was a
very long process
to achieve these rights.
The need for significant and complex changes to state and territory laws to allow physiotherapists to prescribe medications in Australia was then discussed. This will involve
a number of sequential steps
, which the APA is actively working through.
The health minister can allow changes to the legislation which would enable suitably credentialed, non-medical health professionals to prescribe medications. However, a change in the scope of practice, as defined by the various registration boards, needs to happen before this.
This would be particularly advantageous to those who live in rural and regional Australia,’
The APA has therefore developed and submitted to the Physiotherapy Registration Board:
Economic implications of physiotherapists prescribing medication
by Deloitte Access Economics
Physiotherapy Prescribing Better Health for Australia
However, the registration boards cannot make any decisions on changing scope of practice until the completion of a nationally agreed framework for prescribing. This framework is currently being developed by a Health Workforce Principal Committee working party.
It then needs to be authorised by the
Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council
(AHMAC), which comprises the respective state health CEOs, before going on to the
Council of Australian Governments
. Each APA state branch has therefore actively reiterated the importance of resolution of the matter by AHMAC.
Additionally, Pippa informed members that a range of educative measures and clinical governance (safety) arrangements also need to be in place before any change to scope of practice can be endorsed. The
Physiotherapy Board of Australia
is working closely with both the APA and the
Australian Physiotherapy Council
, and a prescribing summit has planned for June.
Win for Comcare physiotherapy fees
Last year, Comcare put forward changes to the way more experienced physiotherapists are renumerated. The APA successfully fought to ensure these fees were unchanged.
Local perspectives on prescribing rights
NT Manager Carolyn Coleman recently visited Alice Springs to host a members forum. Here, she provides a report on the event.
Arnhem Land to benefit from new allied health centre
One physiotherapist with a vision—and a new multidisciplinary clinic— is determined to improve the healthcare that’s available to residents of Arnhem Land.
Working in Central Australia
Annie Farthing, APAM, has lived and worked in Central Australia since 1992, giving her special insights into the day-to-day of a remote area health professional.