Not essential during lockdown?

It’s been 5 days. Waiting each morning for the number of cases, hoping for zero and then relief when zero is announced. Always a little anxious. But as the week passes the anxiety that grows is not about COVID but more to do with all my patients who are not getting the Essential treatment they need and deserve.

I am a Physiotherapist and have been for 20 years. For the first time in my working life I found out on Sunday I was not Essential. Previously I was part of the healthcare team. The multidisciplinary team. A key cog in getting people well. Returning them to their normal lifestyle. The WA Lockdown stopped that in its track.

WA is the only state to Lockdown and ban Physiotherapists from Face to Face consults for patients with urgent needs. This might be the new mother with mastitis, the young man recovering from an ankle fracture – left immobilised with no physiotherapy. The grandmother who’s just had her knee replaced and is now stiff and sore with a knee that is harder and harder to move. It could be your neighbour with vertigo a debilitating condition that makes the world spin and normal existence impossible. All of these conditions are managed daily by Physiotherapists in Private Practice and yet throughout the Lockdown they were not allowed to happen as they were not deemed Essential. Allowing Physiotherapist’s to treat these conditions mean these people don’t burden our health services by having to attend hospitals unnecessarily

No matter, I could get my car serviced, take my dog to the vet or even get those gutters replaced at home. All of these obviously essential services but NOT Physiotherapy.

The lockdown may have ended, but if the WA Government is serious about the health of our community, then the next time they consider a Lockdown remember who the Essential workers really are.

Tim Barnwell
APA Sport and Exercise Physiotherapist

Lifecare Cockburn Central
31 Veterans Parade