Mrs Emily Farquhar1, Dr Anna Moran2
1Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Wagga Wagga, Australia, 2Albury Wodonga Health, Albury , Australia
To overcome long standing gaps in physiotherapy service delivery, Murrumbidgee Local Health District and a private physiotherapy business have implemented a public-private partnership in four outer regional NSW towns. The physiotherapy business is contracted by the health district to provide physiotherapy to hospital inpatients, aged care facility residents and outpatients.
A qualitative methodology, using Appreciative Inquiry design, was used to investigate the success of this model from the perspective of the partnering organisations. Individual interviews were conducted with 5 staff from each partnering organisation, including managers and clinicians. Data were analysed using Framework Analysis and synthesised using a program logic approach.
All participants described the model as being successful. Elements of success included improved access to local services, a coordinated effort to meet the needs of the community, a service that is financially viable and a skilled and satisfied workforce.
Mechanisms to successfully implement the service delivery model included use of multiple (but consistent) resources, motivated stakeholders, content of the contract and referral schedule, streamlined administration processes for contracting and accounting, the workforce model, processes for managing private therapists in a public setting, processes for communication and consistency of stakeholders.
Future opportunities described included expanding the model, a time-block structure instead of hourly-rate for service model, improving communication processes, staff education opportunities, improved facilities and changes to funding models.
This study formally draws on over three years’ of information to provide allied health services in rural areas with evidence-informed guidance around public-private partnership service models.
Emily Farquhar is the physiotherapy manager at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital in New South Wales. She is interested in ways to improve access to physiotherapy services in rural areas. This research, investigating a rural public-private physiotherapy partnership, was undertaken as part of the HETI Rural Research Capacity Building Program. Outside of work, Emily enjoys time with her 2 children as well as singing with the Murrumbidgee Magic Acapella barbershop chorus.