Marilyn Moffat addressing the General Meeting

Profession must set its expectations high, says WCPT President

The physical therapy profession should set its expectations high as it faces the future, said WCPT President Marilyn Moffat, addressing the WCPT General Meeting as it opened in Singapore.

“We all have a responsibility to make the world better for those we serve,” she said. The World Confederation for Physical Therapy has proved itself “strong and durable” and a potent force for physical therapy around the world.

But the profession faces many challenges, said Marilyn Moffat, who steps down as WCPT President this year after an eight-year term. Patterns of disease and traditional models of service delivery are changing. Physical therapists in many parts of the world are challenged to provide quality services in the face of limited resources and under pressure to provide more for less.

“It is essential that physical therapists promote the expansion of our services,” she said. She added that physical therapists in countries with limited resources had devised very innovative ways of delivering services and had much to teach others.

The WCPT General Meeting, being held in Singapore from 29th April to 1st May, precedes the WCPT Congress. There are representatives from 74 WCPT member organisations all over the world.

Marilyn Moffat gave her prescription for the profession’s way forward:

  • re-affirm “our deep sense of commitment” to patients and clients
  • face problems collectively – with developed nations gaining knowledge and skills from those who serve rural and underserved communities
  • establish exchange programmes but be sensitive to “brain drain”
  • expand the out-of-institution service delivery model
  • weave prevention programmes into all that physical therapists do
  • ensure functional outcome is the primary reason for service delivery
  • use the communications technology available.

“We must be recognised as exercise experts with totally evidence-based interventions,” she said.