How Many Physiotherapists Are There In Australia?
Physiotherapists provide care for a wide range of medical conditions and physical concerns to improve countless patients’ quality of life in Australia. In turn, this reduces the national load on the healthcare system due to symptom reduction, improvement in functionality and mobility, and prevention of future issues such as injury or certain chronic health conditions.
The physiotherapy sector is expanding, both in size and scope, resulting in an even better provision of services and reach. It offers many patients an alternative to more expensive and invasive treatments and interventions, and can speed up recovery from surgical procedures, illnesses, and injuries, reducing the pressure on each patient’s workplace.
Physiotherapists provide important and beneficial services to patients as they work to improve their health and wellness. Increasing numbers of physiotherapists in Australia can be highly advantageous for patients’ health and for personal, workplace, and national financial implications.
What Is A Physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists’ care revolves around the body’s movement and structure. They assess patients of any age to identify underlying issues and provide diagnoses of a variety of conditions and issues. Physios develop personalised care plans and manage treatment and can work as part of a multidisciplinary team or as a primary care provider. This can be carried out in a range of settings, such as private practices, hospitals, retirement homes, and sporting organisations. As well as being clinicians, physios can also fulfil education, research, or administration roles.
Physiotherapists undergo university education, completing a bachelor, masters, or professional doctorate program, which includes supervised clinical practice. They must maintain registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) through the National Physiotherapy Board of Australia, and regularly update their competency with professional development and evidence of recency of practice.
What Do Physiotherapists Do?
Conditions that physiotherapists can support and treat are wide and varied, such as:
- Sporting injuries, such as shin splints and twisted ankles.
- Back pain.
- Poor posture.
- Neurological health conditions, such as strokes.
- Cardiac disease.
- Plantar Fasciitis.
- Gait issues in children.
Care provided may include a variety of relevant treatment options such as:
- Manual therapy.
- Cupping or acupuncture.
- Strapping and braces.
- Prescription of exercises.
- Custom orthotics.
Physiotherapy Student Statistics In Australia
When investigating the number of physios in Australia, it is worth starting at the beginning with education. In 2015 to 2016, there were thirty-eight approved physiotherapy courses available. In 2019 to 2020, this number had grown to forty-nine. In the middle of 2020, there were 10, 167 physiotherapy students. With an average annual growth in physiotherapy jobs of approximately 4.5%, becoming qualified in this field is relatively attractive.
A recent notable change is that students are taking longer to complete their studies, ranging from between four and nine years, with a significant portion at the higher end of that spectrum.
Physiotherapy Businesses In Australia
According to industry surveys, registrations, and Australian Bureau of Statistics and Commonwealth Department of Health data, as of 2020, the physiotherapy field was a $2.2 billion industry, and this upward trajectory continues. At that time, there were 7,000 businesses that provide physio services. This is a significant advancement on 2013’s figures, which saw physiotherapy as a $1.5 billion industry. During 2014, there were more than 4, 000 businesses providing care.
Nearly fifteen million services were provided during 2020 via private insurance packages that were supplemented by out-of-pocket payments and the Medical Benefits Schedule.
Physiotherapists In The Australian Workforce
Physiotherapy is a health care service in high demand. The expectation is that this demand will continue to increase due to developments in government policies and changes in demographics, such as the expanding elderly population.
This pressure on the industry has resulted in increased job opportunities. Physiotherapy makes up 4.6% of the regulated professions in Australia, making it one of the fastest growing and the fourth largest in the country. In 2020, more than 35, 000 physiotherapists were registered in Australia.
Physiotherapy Is An Important and Expanding Industry
Physiotherapy is a healthcare service that can have a massive positive impact on individuals’ health, wellbeing and productivity, personal and workforce financial standings, and pressure on the healthcare system in other fields. Due to the demand for this treatment option, the physiotherapy industry should be supported through sufficient education availability, professional development opportunities, and patients’ ability to access care.
Physiotherapists are passionate and committed health professionals who are eager to provide high quality care to their patients. The large number of physiotherapists who are registered in Australia demonstrates the interest in this career, patients’ requirement of this healthcare service, and the importance of this valuable profession.