On World Physiotherapy Day, the State Liberals have highlighted the damage the Weatherill Government’s savage cuts to allied health staff will inflict on healthcare in South Australia and demanded the suspension of Transforming health.
Of the 240 positions to be abolished in southern Adelaide hospitals under Transforming Health, more than 20 are allied health positions, many of whom will be physiotherapists.
“Physiotherapists are critical to the provision of quality, affordable health care in our hospital system and these savage cuts will reduce the health outcomes for patients needing physiotherapy as part of their treatment,” Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade said.
Indeed in March last year, Health Minister Jack Snelling was singing the praises of the physiotherapists asserting:
“we need more allied health workers in our hospital system because it is physiotherapists, speech pathologists and podiatrists who are the workers who actually get people out of hospital”. 1
“The fact that allied health staff are now being reduced demonstrates that the Transforming Health spin is merely camouflage for financial cuts that undermine patient health,” Mr Wade said.
Yesterday the ANMF’s CEO, Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars, referring to Transforming Health said, “we believe it has been driven by economics. It wasn’t driven by the consideration about people …”.
Physiotherapists and other allied health professionals such as occupational therapists provide a range of value-for-money improvements in health care.
For example, clinical trials have shown that physiotherapists working with muscoskeletal patients in Emergency Departments can increase timely discharge by 20%.
“Physiotherapists deliver first class care for sports injuries, neurology, wound care, EMG, cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, orthopedics, women's health and paediatrics.”
Allied health professionals work with patients in their recovery, and facilitate earlier, safer discharge from hospital.
1 House of Assembly Hansard, 24 March 2015, Page 713