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COVID-19 and WHTA Services - 19th March 2020 Announcement
Here at WHTA we have always felt a strong responsibility to not only support / assist members to meet their annual PD requirements for re-registration, but also to support members to achieve these requirements with minimal financial strain and with a focus on health and safety.
In light of COVID-19, health and safety considerations have obviously reached a whole new level. In addition though, many physiotherapists are also experiencing financial implications due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on their clinical practice and employment.
1. KEEPING SAFE
We are obviously in unprecedented times. The focus now has to be on keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and our patients safe. As with all areas of society, we need to make hard decisions that enable social distancing and flatten the curve. Face-to-face courses obviously now carry a risk not only in attendance at the course, but also through the travel requirements (eg flights) some physiotherapists would need to undertake to attend.
2. MEETING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS
Whilst we need to keep people safe through social distancing, we are also conscious that WHTA commits to it's members to provide high quality, affordable professional development opportunities to assist you in meeting your PD requirements for re-registration next year. Ceasing all professional development opportunities over the next six months is therefore not a useful option.
3. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS
COVID-19 is obviously affecting different physiotherapists in different ways. Some physiotherapists are finding they are having significant cancellations due to patients needing to self isolate or not wanting to risk attendance, in other circumstances physiotherapists are needing to self-isolate themselves and therefore cannot work. If school closures occur in the future we will have many physiotherapists balancing the need to be home to look after children. As a result, cash flow / income generation is a very real concern for many physiotherapists at this time.
This results in quite an unusual situation. Self-isolating at home or reduction in clinic hours means that it is a great opportunity to use the time to engage in professional development, however, many people are concerned about the expense of PD when income is uncertain.
How WHTA hopes to Support you during the COVID-19 CRISIS
For each of the above reasons, WHTA has made the following decision in the hope of supporting its members during this unusual time
1. Convert Face-to-face courses to Live Online Courses where possible
2. Defer courses where an online conversion is not possible
3. Attend Now - Pay Later Option to reduce the financial burden
1 CONVERSION TO ONLINE
Pelvic Floor Courses scheduled in the following few months that are exclusively theory / lectures based (ie no small group practical internal examination session) will be held as live online courses instead. The course will still run at the same time and date, and in real time, but participants will log in online from home or work. Interaction will still be possible with the presenter to ask questions via the online portal.
Course notes will have been posted to your stipulated address the week before so that you can take notes throughout the course in the usual way.
This conversion will apply to the following courses:
- Adv PF: Bowel Course scheduled for Melbourne in April
- Adv PF: Overactive Bladder Course scheduled for Sydney in May
- Adv PF: Musculoskeletal, Exercise and Sport Course scheduled for Sydney in June
If you are already enrolled in these courses you will be sent information about how this course will be running online. We are also aware that there are many physiotherapists who may now wish to undertake these courses now that they are online and can be undertaken from home. We will be updating the website to allow enrollment in the next day or two.
2. DEFERMENT OF COURSES TO LATER IN THE YEAR
(those that require Face-to-Face due to practical components)
Courses that include a practical component obviously cannot be run online. These courses have been deferred to later in the year at a time where we are hoping group gatherings have been deemed safe and society is not requiring social distancing.
Please note: WHTA has started with an elected deferment time of 4-5months from now (restarting face-to-face courses in July / August). If however the COVID-19 crisis extends longer we will either reschedule again or offer refunds to participants.
This deferment / change of date affects the following courses
All Advanced PF - POP/SUI Courses in the next 3 months
- Sydney: originally 18th - 20th March --> 24th to 26th August
- Brisbane: originally 15th - 17th May --> 24th - 26th July*
- Melbourne: originally 10th - 12th June --> 17th - 19th August
Advanced PF - Pain Course
- Sydney: originally 1st / 2nd June --> 26th - 27th September
*Note: it is the Brisbane POP/SUI Course in July that we see as the course that may need to be rescheduled again. We are feeling more confident that the other courses will be fine as they are all in the second half of August and September.
3. ATTEND NOW PAY LATER
Many physiotherapists are currently experiencing significant stress due to patient cancellations, fear of clinic closures to maintain social isolation requirements, and yet still having the responsibility of paying staff, self income, rent etc.
This is not the time for Professional Development costs to be adding to this hardship.
This ATTEND NOW-PAY LATER service will be run on a purely 'good will' approach. For those of you with secure incomes we ask that you pay with the usual terms (ie initial deposit on enrolment, and full payment 1month before). If however COVID-19 is affecting your practice it would seem ridiculous to not utilise your time away from work to complete your PD via the online options. Otherwise, when you return to work you will need to take more time off to meet your annual PD requirements. However, if this is the case you may be experiencing financial stress.
If you are in this scenario please simply send us an email that you would like to pay later. Our initial terms will be to pay a deposit only, and final payment by December 1st, however we will extend that deadline if COVID-19 continues longer than expected. We will not ask people to pay until we know that services have returned to normal and people are once again secure in their clinical caseloads and income.