A profile of physiotherapy supply in Ireland.

Affiliation

Economic and Social Research Institute, Whittaker Square, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin 2, Dublin, Ireland. [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND : The lack of information on public and private physiotherapy supply in Ireland makes current and future resource allocation decisions difficult.
OBJECTIVE : This paper estimates the supply of physiotherapists in Ireland and profiles physiotherapists across acute and non-acute sectors, and across public and private practice. It examines geographic variation in physiotherapist supply, examining the implications of controlling for healthcare need.
METHODS : Physiotherapist headcounts are estimated using Health Service Personnel Census (HSPC) and Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) Register data. Headcounts are converted to whole-time equivalents (WTEs) using the HSPC and a survey of ISCP members to account for full- and part-time working practices. Non-acute supply per 10,000 population in each county is estimated to examine geographic inequalities and the raw population is adjusted in turn for a range of need indicators.
RESULTS : An estimated 3172 physiotherapists were practising in Ireland in 2015; 6.8 physiotherapists per 10,000, providing an estimated 2620 WTEs. Females accounted for 74% of supply. Supply was greater in the non-acute sector; 1774 WTEs versus 846 WTEs in the acute sector. Physiotherapists in the acute sector were located mainly in publicly financed institutions (89%) with an even public/private split observed in the non-acute sector. Non-acute physiotherapist supply is unequally distributed across Ireland (Gini coefficient = 0.12; 95% CI 0.08-0.15), and inequalities remain after controlling for variations in healthcare needs across counties.
CONCLUSIONS : The supply of physiotherapists in Ireland is 30% lower than the EU-28 average. Substantial inequality in the distribution of physiotherapists across counties is observed.

Keywords

Geographic distribution,Non-acute supply,Physiotherapy supply,

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