Suh-Fang Jeng is the chair of World Physiotherapy’s Asia Western Pacific region. Together with her colleagues in the Taiwan Physical Therapy Association, Suh-Fang, Shih-Fen Hsiao, Yuan-Hung Chao, and Wendy Wang share their experiences of advocating for direct access in Taiwan.
“The first physical therapy entry-level education in Taiwan was started in 1967 with a four-year BSc program. The Physical Therapy Act was passed in 1995. Under this a physiotherapist can only conduct assessment and treatment following a physician’s diagnosis, referral or prescription. This regulation has limited the access of the public to physiotherapy services for various health and wellness purposes.
“The Taiwan Physical Therapy Association has undertaken a series of actions to advocate direct access for more than ten years. We addressed the issues by making appeals to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Examination, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (formerly the Department of Health).
"We highlighted the increasing needs of physiotherapy because of an ageing society and the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Taiwan. Our physios are well trained and qualified to have direct access. We needed an overall change of mindset of the public and the government about what physios could offer to our country and how direct access would benefit our society. We are grateful to World Physiotherapy for walking with us along the way.