Part of the Better Access funding has been allocated to education and training for health professionals. Understanding the requirements relating to Medicare Benefits Schedule item numbers, referrals and patient health care planning, as well as how mental health professionals can work together in a multidisciplinary treatment team, is fundamental to treating people effectively under the Better Access initiative. This program is a component of the Australian Government's health reform initiatives funded in the Budget: National Health and Hospitals Network — Workforce — rural locum scheme for allied health professionals; National Health and Hospitals Network — Workforce — rural locum scheme for nurses.
The Commonwealth allocates funding for a variety of allied health education and training support schemes to assist allied health students and practitioners with their studies and continuing professional development CPD. As mentioned above in 8. Eligibility varies for each of the schemes above and may be restricted to a selected group of allied health disciplines or in the case of the pharmacy scholarships restricted to one allied health discipline.
Eligibility may also be prioritised according to location, and in some cases focus on providing support to a wide variety of allied health disciplines in rural and remote areas. The scholarship and other education and training support programs are dealt with in more detail in Chapter 3. The majority of allied health practitioners employed in the public sector work in acute care, the community care sector, and in community services.
Within the public sector, particularly in the acute setting, allied health practitioners tend to work in discipline departments with a senior of their discipline. However, there has been a move towards a more multidisciplinary approach to health service delivery in the public sector, with allied health disciplines taking on a more prominent role. There has been a significant increase in private allied health practitioners over the last ten to twenty years.
Optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, osteopaths, pharmacists and psychologists are the disciplines with significant private practice opportunities. Within the private sector, the most common service delivery model for allied health services is a small or solo practice of the same discipline. Larger allied practices which may be co-located with medical practices and other health disciplines are becoming more common. However, for the most part, allied health disciplines continue to operate in a siloed manner. However, allied health disciplines do form collaborative relationships and develop referral pathways to and from medical practitioners as well as other allied health disciplines.
Various submissions indicated the potential for better collaboration and referral processes between allied health and other health disciplines, particularly between private providers and the public sector. The move toward co-located health disciplines is one way to encourage and increase partnerships and collaboration activities of health practitioners. A lack of private practitioner services in rural areas means that rural communities tend to have limited ability to access Commonwealth MBS items or any value in purchasing private health insurance for allied health services.
Models need to be explored which strengthen collaboration between all services health and disability sectors , including private and public and in smaller communities.
David diana p marketing for the mental health professional an innovative guide for practitioners
Medicare Locals and local health networks LHN could play an important role in attracting more allied health to rural locations by having an integrated approach to employment of allied health practitioners. For example, a patient who has suffered a stroke is likely to receive care from a number of allied health professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians and social workers.
It is therefore important to continuously review models of care to ensure maximum coordination of client care including with nursing and to reduce any unnecessary overlap. There have been some models developed in the acute sector where health professionals including doctors, nurses and allied health are managed at a service level rather than by discipline. This model has been used in orthopaedic services and neurological services, with a professional supervision matrix structure for supervision and support through a discipline senior.
This shift is driving enhanced interdisciplinary practice and client-based care.
Models of multidisciplinary care involving allied health professionals have been utilised successfully in the community health and disability sector, where allied health practitioners are more likely to be employed in multidisciplinary roles. The use of allied health in specific areas of extended scope of practice in interdisciplinary teams also merits further work. Since the acceptance of allied health as a professional grouping, some jurisdictions have established senior allied health positions in the public sector. There has been a trend in recent years for health services local health networks to create allied health leadership positions in some major hospitals.
The roles of these types of positions can vary depending on the service delivery structure of the particular health service.
However, the main purpose is to provide better direction and coordination of the allied health workforce in health service delivery. A significant number of leadership positions have been established by state and territory governments to support allied health policy development at a jurisdictional level.
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Additionally, in the recent Senate Inquiry into factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas , one recommendation included the development of a rural allied health officer role in DoHA. The role of the Chief Allied Health Officer is envisaged to be the provision of enhanced liaison and consultation with the allied health workforce, thus enabling better informed health workforce and service delivery policy making.
While the predominant focus of this position will be on improvement in the delivery of allied health services in rural and remote areas, it should also assist in providing a more integrated health workforce. The Commonwealth has a more limited and less direct role in funding and employment of allied health professionals than the state and territory jurisdictions and the role of a Chief Allied Health Officer will therefore carry a different emphasis than is the case in those jurisdictions.
The function of a Chief Allied Health Officer at a Commonwealth level should be to elevate to a senior executive level within DoHA the possible role of allied health professionals in relevant health workforce and service delivery policy, data and planning processes at a national level. It will be important for DoHA to consider and liaise with relevant areas to determine the scope of this role and the type of representation that is necessary across disciplines.
Consideration should also be given to a Coalition of National Nursing Organisations CoNNO type model where allied health stakeholder representatives would meet on, for example a quarterly basis. It is possible that the new Australian Allied Health Alliance discussed earlier could play a role in this regard.
Marketing for the Mental Health Professional: An Innovative Guide for Practitioners / Edition 1
This would also allow allied health stakeholders to present issues and proposals for discussion with relevant areas of DoHA including the Chief Allied Health Officer and other Commonwealth agencies where necessary. Recruitment of allied health practitioners is generally not problematic in metropolitan areas but in rural and especially in inland areas, there can be recruitment difficulties to long-term vacancies. While reliable data is not available at the national level, there is a well-recognised mal-distribution of allied health professionals in rural and remote areas, in both the private and public sectors.
This means that some rural and remote communities can have limited or no services for specific disciplines. Smaller rural and remote communities also often rely on outreach service provision from larger centres, however these services are often irregular and dependent on staffing levels at the larger centres.
Certain health areas are likely to experience higher demand for allied health services over the coming years. For example, a significant number of allied health professionals work in the area of disability, managing clients from childhood through to adult. The recently announced National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS is likely to increase demand for allied health services in this sector and this may have an impact on health services staffing. There is a limited number of allied health practitioners employed in aged care services.
The disciplines that are employed in this sector are mainly diversion therapists and physiotherapists.
The latest aged care workforce census and survey has for the first time included a category for both allied health assistants and professionals. With both of these together, data indicates that both the head count and FTE for allied health has reduced over the past three years. Professionals and their families who relocate to rural areas will often be challenged with living in a small and sometimes isolated community. However health practitioners also deal with professional isolation, increased workloads and more complex work.
Many small communities are unlikely to provide sufficient business to sustain a private health practice. Allied health practitioners in private practice are generally only funded through private health insurance where that is available, or by direct patient payments. Allied health practitioners in rural areas are not always financially viable for funding by state and territory jurisdictions as there is not always enough patient throughput to justify the costs of these positions.
The argument has been made that funding for certain allied health professions will be critical to the future better management of chronic disease in the community. With the recognised shortage of allied health services, many rural areas have been developing processes and frameworks to support the development of trained allied health assistant roles to assist service delivery.
This qualification allows trained assistants to work with allied health professionals, allowing the professional to work to the full scope of their licence and have an allied health assistant to complete more routine tasks, under supervision. There is increasing recognition that this type of role can enhance and expand allied health services and they are increasingly being developed and trialled in smaller rural communities which previously had limited allied health services.
The role of the allied health assistants is also becoming more common in larger towns with assistants being supervised day to day by local health managers. Pilots are currently underway in both Victoria and NSW. Rural allied health professionals and local managers appear to be supportive of allied health assistant roles. However, advocacy and peak groups for the sector appear to be far less supportive.
At the consultative Allied Health Roundtable for this review there were in fact strongly expressed views in favour of increased specialisation in some allied health disciplines and opposition to any erosion of professional boundaries, including the use of allied health assistants. The allied health assistant role is one possible solution to increase access to services in rural and remote communities.
Research into the clinical effectiveness and safety of allied health assistants needs to be conducted, to see efficiencies and productivity gains as well as increased access to services. If an allied health assistant model works in rural areas and is shown to be safe and cost-effective, this could also be considered in metropolitan locations, although this will not occur without the support of the relevant professional associations. In several jurisdictions, allied health professionals have led local innovation with the introduction of trained allied health assistants working with them to deliver enhanced services.
Allied health professionals are generally educated in the university sector with bachelor degrees, usually three to four years duration. However, in a development common to other health professions, there is an increasing move to postgraduate degrees, for example an initial generic undergraduate science degree followed by a Masters in an individual discipline. The postgraduate stream lengthens training to a minimum of five years. Opinions are divided as to whether this is a positive development. Of note, psychology and pharmacy are the only allied health disciplines that have a compulsory postgraduate training requirement.
Issues have been raised about the barriers this further training places to rural and remote practice, particularly psychology. At the practitioner level, ongoing professional development can pose particular challenges for those working in rural and remote communities.
The isolation experienced by these practitioners can often include a lack of supervision and support and limited opportunities to access CPD training. This creates difficulty where clinicians do not have the contemporary skill sets, limiting their capability and capacity to work in new models of care, but may also prevent them meeting mandatory registration requirements where their profession is included in NRAS. A continued focus on allied health networking, adequate supervision and access to CPD for allied health practitioners is vital in providing quality health service delivery based on contemporary practice in rural and remote areas.
Professional supervision is particularly difficult in the more rural and remote areas. Private practitioners in these areas are even more isolated than their counterparts in the same locations but in the public sector. As an example, in the consultations for this review, rural and regional stakeholders expressed strong concerns about the rigidities of the compulsory psychology postgraduate training and its impact particularly upon women in rural areas seeking qualification.
Members of some particular professions urged that their respective boards should keep this in mind so as to ensure that training requirements are as flexible as possible to meet the needs of rural and remote practitioners. All standards should be reassessed from this perspective. Alternative service models may be of benefit to communities where they build on health delivery structures which are already in place. MBS rebates for Telehealth consultations have been available since July , with payments applicable for both a remote specialist medical practitioner and the GP, nurse, midwife or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners with the patient during the real-time consultation.
Expanding the list of eligible Telehealth support practitioners to include health practitioners like optometrists is an option that should be explored. In this example, expanding the current consultation rebates would assist rural communities to access ophthalmological consultations more rapidly, with the support of a practitioner specialised in eye health. Innovation in Telehealth and online training as well as development of professional networks for support is required.
Inspirational leadership in allied health is required to move services from traditional service delivery to innovative interdisciplinary approaches. The consultations as part of this review highlighted the frustration of allied health peak bodies at the lack of allied health workforce data and priority of data analysis. There is limited data available on the allied health disciplines, especially those who fall out of the registration scheme of NRAS.
Currently, there are no reliable data sources that indicate the level of employment of the allied health workforce across the different sectors and settings. Better data collection across settings should provide useful information for policy development.
This is particularly important in regard to the disability sector, with the establishment of the NDIS, as well as in aged care. Arguably, service sector workforce planning — looking at community needs for care and utilisation of allied health disciplines rather than a population-based planning approach — would provide more meaningful information to assist not only with supply and demand for the different allied health professional groups but this approach would also assist in looking at best practice models for service delivery including interdisciplinary care and the use of allied health assistants.
Noting the complexity and diversity of functions of the allied health disciplines across sectors including disability , this type of approach may provide more meaningful data to assist in workforce planning rather than looking at a population-based approach for allied health as has been utilised in Health Workforce — Doctors, Nurses and Midwives.
Innovative methods of communication and activities such as telehealth, online training and assistance to develop new professional support networks could be funded through this approach. Nil — new funding required. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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Sort order. May 24, Dougw rated it really liked it. One of the most helpful manuals on marketing.
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As a therapist who has been uncomfortable and intimidated with marketing, this book describes marketing as a process based on sound psychological principles. Many of the principles describes reflect the values I hold as a therapist: integrity, honesty, the laws of attraction, whole-heartedness. I took copious notes and will likely return to this book again and again. Mona rated it did not like it Apr 11, Clay rated it liked it Jan 08, Leisa Hunter Smith rated it really liked it Apr 28, Nick Lascelles rated it it was ok Jan 24, Tim Ciochon rated it really liked it Aug 09, Heather rated it really liked it Jul 26, Tamara Suttle rated it really liked it Oct 09, Alicia Cybulski rated it did not like it Jun 07, Stephanie Adams rated it it was amazing Aug 20, Megan rated it liked it Sep 24, Cris rated it really liked it Sep 08, Luis Knight rated it really liked it Oct 07, David rated it it was amazing Jan 21, Connie Moser rated it liked it Feb 02, Amy M Fuller rated it it was amazing Aug 19, Dennis Given rated it it was amazing May 27, Bridgett rated it liked it Feb 25, Andria Barbour rated it it was amazing Sep 18, Lindsey rated it it was amazing Apr 01, Lodenat rated it liked it Nov 28, Wende rated it really liked it Feb 09, Heather Baker rated it liked it Jun 08, Lynda Gonsalves rated it it was amazing Dec 24, Kelly Kinderman rated it really liked it Mar 09, Kimberly Jordan rated it did not like it Oct 12, Inkubator added it Jan 29, Mindy marked it as to-read Jan 03, Rolf marked it as to-read Aug 16, Beth Fleischman marked it as to-read Sep 07, Cecilia marked it as to-read Dec 30, Julie marked it as to-read Feb 22,