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Committee FOR WASTE REDUCTION

The changing face of Healthcare in Covid 19 by Suzanne Rath

Friday, June 26, 2020 7:26 AM | Valentina Vélez Rivera (Administrator)

What a crazy time it’s been! As somebody who is a major planner, always looking ahead to how I can improve personally and professionally, there have been times of struggle in the past couple of months. Our physio practice has remained open, so while I’ve been able to do more online professional development, I certainly haven’t learnt a new language or perfected my sourdough recipe! While the online world seems to be saturated with workshops and classes, most of our work throughout has been face to face, with vigilant cleaning, disinfecting and screening practices.

But I can see many positives in this situation- particularly for the environment and our interconnection as humans. Looking at healthcare, Wellness Embodied has a contract with remote communities in the NT. Servicing this normally requires multiple flights, extended drives and stays in hotels. There’s no recycling in communities, or in Katherine, so even the most diligent of us ends up throwing away an undesirably large landfill bag at the end of a week-long stay in community. Now, we can spend a day a week doing video consults from Cairns- improving accessibility for clients who are spread across a large area and decreasing our carbon footprint in the process. We’ve got clients in Cooktown and the Torres Strait on-board also and it’s been great to connect with and empower people who may be isolated at this, or other times. In Cairns, I can organise a phone consult with my GP- meaning I can be out for a bike ride, take a quick phone call and go about my day. Excellent!

I’m excited about increasing healthcare accessibility for Australians located in some of our most remote regions. I’m also excited to see how many companies will learn to trust their staff to work from home, have more flexible working arrangements, or organise virtual conferences or meetings instead of flying people all over the country. There’s always a need for face to face connection- particularly as physiotherapists! But if this crisis will enable somebody on a remote station to be able to access their physio, GP or psychologist at the touch of a button, I think it’s a big plus for Australians.


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