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A physiotherapist who has been working with remote communities in the Pilbara region of Western Australia (WA) for 33 years has won one of WA's most prestigious health awards.
Carol Simpkins, a senior physiotherapist with WA Country Health Service's Pilbara Population Health Unit, received the Rotary Allied Health Professional of the Year Award for 2012.
Since 2008, Ms Simpkins has played a critical role in establishing physiotherapy outreach services for the people of the Jigalong, Punmu, Parnngurr and Kunawarritji Western Desert communities. This, along with her clinical work at Hedland Health Campus, has seen her demonstrate the Rotary ideal of ‘service above self', leading to the presentation of the award.
Ms Simpkins also works closely with junior colleagues and physiotherapy students, sharing her knowledge and experience to build the quality of physiotherapy services available in the region.
'The variety of work here in the Pilbara keeps me inspired and learning every day,' Ms Simpkins said.
'We have a great Allied Health team in Hedland. Much of our work is done as a multi-disciplinary team and not as individual disciplines which provides a high standard of care for patients.
'One of the highlights has been being able to work with the Indigenous community both in town and in the communities. Sometimes due to the distance we stay overnight in the communities which allows us to build a rapport with the children and adults.'
The Allied Health Professional of the Year Award is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Mt Lawley and West Perth. In 2012 the categories included clinical psychology, nutrition and dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, social work and speech pathology.
Source: Department of Health, Western Australia
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