Physiotherapists have been in practice in Australia for many years, but some of their roles in the health system are evolving. Health Workforce Australia has a budget of over $2.5 million to expand the scope of work of physiotherapists in emergency departments. The program is being developed in 8 sites throughout South Australia, Victoria, The Northern Territory, Queensland and the ACT.
The project aims include increasing workforce productivity and reduce waiting times for patients in the emergency department. If physiotherapists are able to triage/treat soft tissue damage and injuries, this allows emergency physicians the capacity to focus on treating patients who are more acutely ill.
The program also aims to provide information on the necessary funding, regulatory and policy changes required to apply the expanded scope of practice of physiotherapists nationally.