Mulvihill to raise physiotherapy fears

THE chair of the GAA’s Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee is to raise the Association’s decision to limit physiotherapy reimbursement as part of its player injury scheme with GAA president Christy Cooney.

Dr Danny Mulvihill told Irish Medical Times that limiting the scheme to post-operative physiotherapy only was made without any medical input and was taken on financial grounds by the administrators of the insurance scheme.

It is understood the cost of the scheme has climbed from €6.4 million in 2006 to €9.2m last year.

“Our committee would be concerned about player welfare at all times, and we certainly do see a role for physiotherapy at all times, not just post-operatively,” Dr Mulvihill told IMT. However, the Kildare GP wants the Association to carry out a root and branch review of the entire scheme before deciding what action to take. “We have no real details of how the scheme has been operating and how the claims have been processed. We have had no knowledge of any of the working of that. To be able to give advice on medical, scientific and welfare matters relating to players, we really need to sit down and look at the whole scheme. That is what I am hoping to get the GAA to agree to do,” Dr Mulvihill added.

Last week, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) said the decision would have a negative effect on player health and welfare, particularly in the smaller clubs.

The body accepted that the GAA had its own budgetary concerns, but stressed early physiotherapy intervention in the diagnosis, treatment and management of injuries was cost-saving, as it helped players make a prompt recovery.

“International sports medicine best practice strongly supports the finding that in the vast majority of injuries, all non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation measures such as physiotherapy should be exhausted prior to the final option of surgery,” commented ISCP President Annette Shanahan.

The ISCP wants the GAA to reconsider the withdrawal of treatment cover for services provided by appropriately-qualified practitioners.

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