A survey of physiotherapy on-call and emergency duty services in New Zealand
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Physiotherapists working in hospitals are commonly required to undertake emergency on-call duties. Concerns from within the profession about the quality of on-call services have been expressed. The aims of this study were to audit oncall practice in New Zealand, identify variations in service provision and ascertain physiotherapists’ concerns in providing these services. A postal questionnaire was distributed to senior physiotherapists in all New Zealand hospitals expected to provide physiotherapy emergency on-call duties (n = 38). A response rate of 97.4% (n=37) was obtained of which 33 respondents provided on-call physiotherapy. Assessment of competency to undertake on-call duties, agreed standards of practice, the use of protocols, training and support provided were ascertained. Respondents were asked to highlight their most important concerns in the provision of their on-call service. These were found to be maintenance of competency, service provision, training and resource issues. This study demonstrates wide variations in the practice and provision of on-call duties by physiotherapists and highlights common concerns in the provision of these services. Strategies to diminish these concerns require further consideration at both national and local levels.