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Annual Forum recap

Emma Breheny
1 September 2016

The TAS Annual Forum’s program was designed to give a breadth of information on manual therapy, as well as the research behind it, demonstrating physiotherapists’ commitment to evidence-based practice. Speakers came from physiotherapy and medical imaging specialties.

Keynote Kim Robinson, FACP, gave an overview of the Mulligan technique and presented evidence for its effectiveness. Kim introduced his session with a brief history, touching on Brian Mulligan’s development of the technique, which itself drew on the Kaltenborn concept. He then outlined its basic concepts of being pain free, instant in effect and long-lasting. Kim gave examples of the effectiveness of the technique across a range of areas including the cervical spine, shoulder thoracic spine and hips.

A clinical session later in the day anchored around a case discussion of managing a shoulder rotator cuff and impingement injury, with presentations by Dr Ken Mclean, a specialist radiologist, and Maree Webber, FACP. Prior to this, APA Sports Physiotherapist Lia Giovanovits delivered a session on clinical reasoning to frame the discussion. Finally, APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Jason Rodgers and APA Sports Physiotherapist Sally McLaine gave overviews of their PhD research into heel pain, and swimmers and shoulder injuries, respectively.

Throughout the day, there was a focus on public health in Tasmania and the advocacy agenda of the APA. The forum was opened by Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson, MP, whose attendance provided an opportunity for a meeting with TAS Branch President Maree Webber, FACP, Branch Councillor Scott Willis, APAM, and APA staff.

One area of discussion was continued support for successful initiatives like GP after-hours services, mental health services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs, and women’s health initiatives. APA officebearers and staff reminded the minister of the cost-effectiveness of physiotherapy to improve health outcomes and health system performance. The APA also asked that the position of Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health be opened to physiotherapist applicants.
A presentation by Ian Watts, APA General Manager – Policy and Government Relations, focused on ways to think about public policy, whether as a cycle of identifying problems and generating solutions, a program, or a ‘political’ process. He also encouraged us to think about using our experience to create simple case studies that show the positive impact of physiotherapy.

Dr Kelly Shaw of Primary Health Tasmania highlighted the challenges facing Tasmanian clinicians by outlining the general demographics and the future trends of an ageing population and higher burdens of chronic disease.

Phil Edmondson, CEO of Primary Health Tasmania, talked of the commissioning process and said that with the likely changes in allocating funding for services, service providers will need to work collaboratively. For physiotherapy services in primary health, new models of care will be required.


   Motion capture technology improving patient engagement on rehabilitation wards
  Amy Rathjen, APAM, is undertaking a study to see whether pedometers encourage patients in rehabilitation wards to move more, thus improving mobility outcomes.
   Trialling video games in stroke rehabilitation
  A team of Tasmanian researchers are nearing the end of the first trial in the southern hemisphere of the Jintronix Rehabilitation System, an exercise-based video game for stroke patients.
   StGiles story: adapting to meet the needs of the community
  The polio epidemic of 1937 saw many communities struggling. Significant numbers of deaths were recorded, but it was the ongoing challenges of treatment and rehabilitation of hundreds of children that seemed onerous.
   Taking physio to rural Tasmania
  Nine members of the TAS Branch set up a pop-up clinic at the state’s premier agricultural event, Agfest, to engage with and inform the public on the benefits of physiotherapy.
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