Physiotherapists Received Less Public Complaints than Most Other Health Practitioners

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New data from The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards annual report 2011-12 show that physiotherapists have among the least public complaints filed against them. Wellness & Lifestyles Australia, a mobile allied health services provider, weighs in on this phenomenon.

“Allied health professionals usually deal with less invasive types of treatment, so they have traditionally been exposed to less legal risk than the traditional medical community,” said Mr. Heywood-Smith.

According to recently released annual data on Australia’s health practitioners, physiotherapists have one of the least numbers of complaints filed against them. However, the news gives little relief to health workers whose daily work often expose them to legal risks.

Mobile allied health services provider Wellness & Lifestyles Australia’s CEO, Nick Heywood-Smith, gives his perspective on how allied health professionals can deal with the legal risks of their profession.

“Allied health professionals usually deal with less invasive types of treatment, so they have traditionally been exposed to less legal risk than the traditional medical community,” said Mr. Heywood-Smith.

“However, any risk at all needs to be addressed and allied health workers need to learn to manage the risks inherent in their profession. This responsibility is on the shoulders of not only the employers of physiotherapists and other allied health workers, but also on the individual professional themselves,” he continued.

According to recently released data from The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards annual report 2011-12, there were 7,594 public complaints filed against health practitioners.

Medical doctors received the highest number of complaints, with 4,122 notifications filed.

“Doctors are at immense legal risk because they often have the highest level of invasiveness in terms of patient treatment. Often, they’re also required to work long hours, which increases the chances of making errors,” explained Mr. Heywood-Smith.

Physiotherapists received 111 complaints, while optometrists and midwives received 55 and 62 complaints, respectively.

“Having good ongoing training on risk management will go a long way in helping health practitioners navigate the legal risks inherent in their professions. However, it also comes down to personal restraint from the big no’s like sexual misconduct and substance abuse,” explained Mr. Heywood-Smith.

“It sounds so common sense, yet so many people get into trouble because they don’t do enough to prevent trouble from brewing in the first place. If you want to become a healthcare provider, just know that many risks can be managed with good training and good personal habits. Don’t let the news scare you away from a career that can give you a lot of personal and financial satisfaction,” he continued.

Allied health professionals looking to serve the elderly population while working a flexible schedule can enquire about careers at Wellness & Lifestyles Australia.

About Wellness & Lifestyles
Wellness & Lifestyles Australia (W&L) was established by Nick Heywood-Smith in 2003. It is a market leader in the provision of mobile allied health services in Australia. W&Ls core business is aged-care focused allied health services.

W&L has grown from a home office to a company with the full scope of allied health services including physiotherapy, podiatry, speech pathology, occupational therapy, dietetics, exercise physiology, psychology, diabetes educators, massage, natural therapies, educational training and specialist RNs to facilitate ACFI assessments, Australia-wide.

The company services to over 250 facilities and over 15,000 aged care beds. Its current clients consist of aged care facilities, the intellectually and physically disabled, community health services, day therapy centres, home care package providers, public and regional hospitals and private clients in their homes.

Their vision to become the benchmark for aged care allied health care services in Australia, supplying ‘best in class’ services that surpass needs.

W&L provides a ‘one stop shop’ for allied health services for their clients and focus on providing a ‘work-life’ balance for their therapists. This has been the key to their success.

To join the W&L team of allied health professionals, visit http://www.wellnesslifestyles.com.au/careers/.

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