Ethics, inequity & climate change (DS-03)


How do we handle inequitable access to physiotherapy, or scarce resources affecting the quality of care? What are the ethical challenges associated with the management of patients/clients within health care systems of struggling economies? Do physiotherapists have responsibilities to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)? In the light of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation - are we responsible for more than just human health and functioning?

This session addresses the need for rigorously reviewing and expanding the current roles of our profession within society and healthcare. The many opportunities for physiotherapy will be discussed, including the ability to adapt to changing healthcare economies and environments, opportunities to more practically integrate ethics and non-discriminatory approaches into practice and training, and ways to be considerate of global social and political diversity.

In an interactive discussion with our international colleagues in the audience we will explore the intricate relationships between these ethical challenges and the difficulty of focussing on some at the expense of others. Closely aligning with the UN SDGs as 'an agenda for people, planet and prosperity' we aim to consider questions surrounding sustainable development and healthcare in a holistic manner, considering ethical, social, economic and environmental challenges alike


  • Identify various and competing challenges that physiotherapists face globally today in their efforts to provide ethical healthcare
  • Explore new ways for physiotherapists and the physiotherapy profession to respond to contemporary ethical, societal and environmental challenges
  • Consider how experiences shared by global colleagues can inform your own practice

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