Help Chiropractors & Physiotherapists remain open for treatment during lockdown!

Help Chiropractors & Physiotherapists remain open for treatment during lockdown!

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Brett Dells started this petition to Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Patients

Chiropractic & Physiotherapy are essential; please approve hands-on healthcare during future lockdowns.

To the Rt Hon. Roger Cook MLA
Minister for Health, Mental Health, 

Deputy Premier, Western Australia

Dear Mr Cook,

We note the directives from WA Health and respectfully draw your attention to the following;

Of the four reasons to leave the house during this 4th lockdown, the fourth is;

'For medical or healthcare purposes, included for looking after the vulnerable or to be vaccinated'

However, within the Outbreak Restrictions (Circuit-Break Lockdown Level 3) Directions; allied health services provided by allied health professionals working in private practice providing care through telehealth and other virtual care options;

Given that allied health has adopted standard precautions and infection control procedures in line with Government advice, why are allied health excluded from contributing to care, particularly that which would lead to de-escalation?” Private practice physiotherapy and chiropractic is classified as essential, but only for Telehealth.

As we have recently entered a 4th lockdown in WA, the existing strain on the medical and hospital systems is being exacerbated. Our medical system, both in the hospitals and private practice, is being stretched to capacity. We recently saw 'code black' at Fiona Stanley where there were no more beds available. Ambulance ramping has been common. The need for all stakeholders with the healthcare system to contribute as they can, both public and private, is clear.

By restricting these health professionals to telehealth only, there are a number of likely consequences;
Increased presentations to GPs and hospitals for musculoskeletal complaints which constitute the majority of the caseload seen by these private health professionals.
Possible deterioration in the mental health for these patients as there is a clear link between musculoskeletal conditions and mental health measures.
Possible delays in care which can often lead to a worsening prognosis and greater costs to WA Health.
Increased traffic in GP and hospital settings, pushes people into closer proximity to the sickest people who may be contagious with transmissible diseases such as COVID19 and influenza.

In Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, these professions have been allowed to provide care with certain restrictions. WA need not be the outlier.

Physiotherapists and chiropractors undertake 4 or 5 years of university degrees with government registration through AHPRA and are well versed in infection control procedures.

Currently, according to WA Health guidelines these health professions are essential services, but only by telehealth. For practitioners that primarily use hands on care, Zoom simply is not appropriate in most clinical presentations. Health fund rebates often do not cover telehealth for these practitioners. Telehealth is not feasible for patients who require physical passive care and treatment, and as a result are predominantly receiving no treatment at all.

We wish you to consider that for any future lockdown, both the chiropractic & physiotherapy professions (and any other allied health profession that will fit into this category such as Osteopathy) are able to remain as essential services and stay open and treat their patients whilst following strict infection control procedures, as is the case in other states.

*Patients with chronic conditions or rehabilitation requirements are able to maintain their treatment schedule and not be setback as a result of having no treatment
* Patients with a new injury that doesn't require emergency care but does require immediate treatment (as detailed above) can access care
* Likely reduction in the patient overload at both hospitals and GP Surgeries during these critical times
* Complementary care can reduce the risk of people/patients being in an area where the risk of Covid being present is greater (i.e. Hospitals and GP Surgeries)
* As a result of the above, Reduced Risk of Covid Spread (as patients do not seek treatment from the abovementioned professionals for flu like symptoms)

The rules in WA are out of step with the eastern states. In the event of a 5th WA lockdown the rules need to change.

Please allow allied health to be truly essential, and provide more than just telehealth.

Please read the comments below to understand the impact this anomalous situation is having on the people of WA.

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