Award-winning WCPT Congress arrives in Cape Town

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) brings its biennial congress to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 2nd to 4th of July.

The award-winning congress is taking place in Africa for the first time and will welcome more than 2,000 physical therapists from 100 countries to Cape Town.

The South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) is hosting the event and guarantees a warm and friendly welcome to all, supported by nearly 200 volunteers, principally physiotherapy students from Western Cape universities and SASP members. The Physiotherapy Department at the University of Stellenbosch is also hosting the pre- and post-congress courses.

A WCPT Congress is where the world of physical therapy meets to share the latest research and practice advances, to debate hot topics and professional issues, to network and to learn from experiences across diverse settings around the world.

Alongside the scientific and educational programme a lively exhibition hall includes industry-wide support from a comprehensive selection of global and local companies.

The programme promises to engage delegates and speakers through a variety of session formats and learning styles. The Indaba, a new innovative meeting and inspiration zone, takes its lead from the traditions of meetings in South Africa and features, and includes among other things, a programme looking at global solutions for local problems.

Every day physical therapists make life-changing contributions to patient care and service delivery, as well as important contributions to health promotion and wellbeing. The WCPT Congress showcases the best in physical therapy research and practice to push the profession forward, which delivers direct economic and societal benefits.

WCPT and SASP are ensuring that the congress creates a lasting legacy, with a number of outreach activities. Fundraising has enabled 19 delegates from low resource countries to benefit from a bursary programme and attend the congress. SASP has collaborated with the WoW! (WesternCape on Wellness) initiative through health promotion activities out on the streets, and held a Brain Break Movement competition for primary schools to get children physically active.

WCPT and SASP have also partnered with the Shoes2Move!campaign, aiming to raise much-needed funds to buy new exercise shoes and engage people in community exercise sessions.  Delegates and exhibitors will be encouraged to donate towards the campaign.

For further information (WCPT) please contact: Kiran Acharya,, +44 7534904190

For further information (SASP) please contact: Magda Fourie,, +27 833025365


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Why are physical therapists not appropriately recognized in Healthcare?

It is still very shocking to see that physiotherapists are still not appropriately recognized for the role they play in the healthcare sector.

Someone should please wake me up! Who talks about back pain without a mention of physiotherapy? How long will physical therapists continue to fight for recognition and relevance when their roles are clearly defined?

Heidi Jannenga, cofounder of WebPT, shares her experience at the 2017 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition which took place in Orlando, Florida. Here is an excerpt:

"it was extremely disappointing—more like maddening, actually—to sit through an entire presentation on low back pain without hearing a single mention of physical therapy. 

This discussion specifically delved into the role interoperability plays in ensuring patients achieve optimal outcomes. Sure, several speakers from hospitals and other large health organizations talked about using some of the sameoutcome measurement tools (e.g., the Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire and Neck Disability Index) that PTs use every day. But PTs—and our hands-on, non-invasive, patient-centric approach—were left out of the equation completely. 

And that’s not okay—not only because it means we, as a profession, are nowhere near achieving the level of respect and recognition we deserve in the greater healthcare community, but also because it means there are thousands of low back pain patients out there who are paying way too much for dangerous treatments (e.g., surgery and prescription painkillers) that could actually threaten their long-term health and wellbeing.

Physical therapists should’ve been at the forefront of this conversation. After all, low back pain is one of our most-seen diagnoses. 

Even more disheartening: After raising my hand and questioning the speaker’s glaring omission of physical therapy in his presentation, he paused, scratched his head, and said, “That’s a really good point—I’m not sure why or how we would get PTs involved.” 

Talk about a huge slap in the face to our entire profession. PT wasn’t even on his radar—and that should be a major wake-up call for all of us."

How has physiotherapy fared in the healthcare sector in your own country or city? Are you still fighting for relevance trying to convince other members of the team on why physiotherapy should be recommended?

Let me know your thoughts.


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Temporary Travel Jobs for Physiotherapists

If you are looking for locum, temporary or travel jobs as a health professional, that may not be a bad idea.

Physiotherapists looking for travel jobs in the US can look at an average pay of between $42- $47 per hour. Job durations can range from 4 - 13 weeks or more or less, depending on the employer.

Med Travelers is the industry leader in allied travel healthcare staffing, matching qualified allied clinicians and healthcare professionals with thousands of temporary, travel and local assignments, as well as permanent allied career opportunities, all throughout the United States.

Check for travel jobs


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Changes in Australian Citizenship Requirements

Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 has been introduced to Parliament, but has not yet passed and may be subject to further amendments before it comes into effect.

The Bill indicates following changes will be effective for any applications for citizenship lodged on or after 20 April 2017:

General Residence Requirement

The new general residence requirement for citizenship by conferral has been set out in the Bill and is as follows:

You must in general have been present in Australia for a period of 4 years as a permanent resident (this is referred to as the "Residency Period")

You must not have been unlawful at any stage during the 4 yearsIf you depart Australia during the 4 years

the total period spent outside Australia must be less than 365 days, and you must maintain your permanent residence during this time

This is in line with expectations based on the announcement of 20 April and effectively means that you must hold your permanent visa for 4 years, rather than 12 months which was previously the case.

New Zealand Citizens and the Residency Requirement

New Zealand Citizens meeting certain criteria will not need to meet the new general residence requirement, but instead can apply under the previous arrangements where up to 3 years of time spent in Australia on a temporary visa can count towards the residence requirement.

English Requirement

The Bill indicates that you will need to demonstrate Competent English - this would require at least 6 in each band of IELTS or equivalent.

Evidence of Competent English would need to be provided at lodgement for all applicants aged 16 years or over. Failure to provide this would result in the application being considered invalid.

The Explanatory Statement indicates that test results up to 3 years old can be used.

The Bill mentions that exemptions may be set out in a legislative instrument - 

Passport holders of the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA or NZSpecified English language studies at a recognised Australian education provider
Applicants with a permanent or enduring physical or mental incapacity
Applicants aged 60 or over
Applicants with hearing, speech or sight impairment

Pledge of Allegiance

The previous Pledge of Commitment will be renamed as the Pledge of Allegiance. To become a citizen, the Pledge of Allegiance is required for citizenship by conferral for all applicants aged 16 or over.

This will also apply to the following ways of acquiring citizenship which currently do not require a Pledge of Commitment:

Citizenship by Descent - children born overseas to Australian citizen parents

Adopted children (Hague Convention or bilateral agreement)People resuming Australian Citizenship

Children born to a former Australian citizen

People obtaining citizenship due to being stateless or born in Papua during certain periods of time

Automatic Acquisition of Citizenship by Children Born in Australia on 10th Birthday

Currently, children born in Australia and who are usually resident in Australia acquire Australian citizenship by operation of law on their 10th birthday.

The Bill introduces significant limitations on this, and the child will be ineligible for citizenship in the following circumstances:

Children who are unlawful at any stage
Children who depart Australia and do not have a visa to return to Australia
If the child's parent becomes unlawful prior to the birth of the child
If the child's parent has diplomatic status in Australia

Strengthened Character Requirements

The Bill gives the Minister more power to do the following where there are character concerns:
Refuse Citizenship applications
Delay processing of citizenship applications by deferring the date for the Pledge of Allegiance - this delay could be up to 2 years
Cancelling approval of citizenship prior to the Pledge of Allegiance being taken

Cancelling approval after the Pledge of Allegiance
Children under 18 will now need to meet the character requirement. Children 16 years or over will need to undergo police checks. Where there are known issues, Immigration may look into character for applicants aged under 16 years as well.

A citizenship application cannot be approved where a person is:

Subject to pending proceedings for an offence
Serving a term in prison
On parole
Confined in a mental health facility by court order
Subject to home detention or residential program for mental health or drug rehabilitation
A 2-year bar eligibility bar for Australian citizenship applies after serving a serious prison term or 10 years for repeat offenders.

The Minister has the power to personally make a decision on character grounds which is non-reviewable, and the substitute a decision in favour of applicants at the AAT on character grounds.

2-Year Bar where Citizenship Refused

A 2-year bar can apply where a citizenship application is refused on grounds other than meeting the residence requirement. If your applications is refused for instance on character grounds, you will not be able to apply again for a period of 2 years.

Revocation of Australian Citizenship for Fraud or Misrepresentation

Where incorrect information is provided, this can result revocation of Australian citizenship. This can relate to:
The application for Australian citizenship
Entry to Australia - presumably this might include information on incoming passenger cards
Previous visa applications
The fraud or misrepresentation may have been done by a third party, and includes concealing relevant information. Any fraud or misrepresentation which has occurred up to 10 years prior to the revocation can be considered.


Whilst the Citizenship legislation still needs to pass Parliament to come into effect, the release of the Bill makes the Government's intentions much clearer.

Source: Acacia immigration


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