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Message from our CEO
Aged Care Royal Commission:
The media has been awash with the early reactions to the interim Report of the Aged Care Royal Commission, released Thursday 31 October.
The Report calls for fundamental reform and redesign of Australia’s aged care system.  Titled Neglect the Commission puts governments, providers, regulators, managers and others on notice that it expects to see genuine, substantive action to improve aged care systemically before it hands the Final Report to the Governor General on 12 November 2020.  While much of the Report is distressing and admonishes us (all to some extent) for allowing this situation to develop, it is also refreshing: it’s honest and makes an unapologetic declaration that the purpose of our policies, programs and systems is to care for people. People, regardless of their age are more than a series of transactions, throughputs, categorised funding entities or a subject of mandatory, minimum, routine, standardised and  scheduled tasks (even when task-based obligations are met).
There are clear messages about what needs to improve; messages familiar to SARRAH Members and others - not only in aged care, but in working across communities, where too often people are dissected and commodified into a set of shaped wooden blocks required to fit into the design of program entry ‘holes’ ….  or not. 
The Commission has taken an impressive approach to the breadth of its remit - to include fundamentals such as the ethos of the care itself, testing the ‘ageist mentality’ that underpins rigid, dehumanising arrangements – critical of set and forget “care”.  Instead the Commission expresses concern at “a lack of curiosity about the potential of aged care to provide restorative and loving care”, the “the clear and present danger of declining function”, inappropriate hospitalisation, lack of physical and other therapies, poor food and nutrition, inappropriate and/or over-prescription of drugs as a form of restraint and more.  Much of this screams the case for greater access to and support for allied health interventions, before and when care needs increase. 
The Commission has signalled that workforce will a key area of focus for their work going forward and have established a specific Workforce submissions process. SARRAH will be contributing to this process, and would welcome the contribution of Members.  Submissions are due with the commission by Friday 6 December.
In a further effort to garner action, the Commission reports “The aged care system has been reviewed repeatedly, with more than 35 major public reviews over the past 40 years” (page 67).  Drawing attention to this fact will hopefully avert the risk of further inaction.  Perhaps, if this works, the National Rural Health Commissioner’s report to Government on allied health in rural Australia, will also prompt a genuine response.

Notification of SARRAH Annual General Meeting
The next annual general meeting (AGM) of the members of Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) will be held on 29 November 2019.

Details of the meeting are as follows:
Date: 29 November 2019
Time: 12:00PM Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)
Place: Held via Zoom (details are included in the agenda).

The SARRAH Board comprises 9 positions, with 5 positions available as follows;
3 Positions up for re-election are:
1 - Hon Treasurer
2 - 2 member positions
2 Positions open for nomination are:
1 - 2 member positions
NOTE: You must be a fully financial, individual member of SARRAH to nominate for a position.
Completed nomination forms must be lodged with SARRAH by close of business on Friday 1 November 2019.

Full details on appointments to the SARRAH Board are available in Section 11 of the SARRAH Constitution. A copy of the constitution is available here.
Contact us at the office for more information
SARRAH Photo Competition has been extended until 30 November 2019
Thank you to those who have already submitted photos they are fantastic, but keep them coming in.
"We live and work in a wonderfully diverse country so we would like to see photos depicting "A Rural Life" this maybe the view from your office, your community, something unique to where you live and work, or amazing people you know."
You can enter multiple times, so please send your photos to
Scholarship applications are now open! Apply today

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) is designed to further develop the skills of the Northern Territory's rural and remote health workforce. Under the program, eligible primary health care professionals can receive up to $20,000 to put towards upskilling.

  • Scholarships are available for post-graduate study
  • Bursaries are available for other types of training and upskilling (e.g. conferences, continuing professional development events or other short courses).
For more information contact the future workforce coordinator at
Aged Care Royal Commission seeks submissions on workforce

Following the third Melbourne hearing, which focused on workforce issues, the Royal Commission seeks written submissions on policy issues relating to:

  • methods for determining and implementing the minimum staffing levels and appropriate skills mix for aged care services, including for nursing, personal care, allied health and others
  • who should be covered by a registration scheme for non-clinical staff in aged care, and how such a scheme might be implemented, administered and funded
  • options to resolve low remuneration and poor working conditions, including how the remuneration and working conditions of aged care workers can be aligned with their counterparts in the health and disability sectors
  • how to raise the overall skill, knowledge and competencies of all care staff (existing and new entrants) in working with vulnerable people , especially those with age related conditions and illnesses
  • how to ensure service providers develop a culture of strong governance and workforce leadership, and
  • any institutional changes needed to ensure that the Commonwealth fills its role as the system steward and exercises leadership in workforce planning, development and remuneration. 

Submissions should be made to
You can also:

  • write to the Royal Commission at GPO Box 1151 Adelaide SA 5001 or
  • telephone 1800 960 711 (between 8:00am-6:30pm ACDT Monday-Friday except on public holidays. Interpreter service available).

Policy submissions will be accepted until close of business on Friday, 6 December 2019.

The Department of Human Services notification: We are upgrading our digital health and aged care channels
The Department of Human Services delivers services and payments on behalf of the Department of Health and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) for the Medicare Benefits Scheme, Australian Immunisation Register, the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme and Aged Care.
Our vision is to deliver secure and up-to-date industry standard technology to protect Australia’s health and aged care information, now and into the future.
o do this, we’ll upgrade the following channels:
  • Medicare Online
  • Australian Immunisation Register - via Medicare Online
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs - via Medicare Online
  • PBS Online
  • Aged Care
From late November 2019, we’ll start communicating to all health and aged care professionals by either letter or email, advising them of the upgrades and their next steps.
For more information and for regular updates, members should go to

Other News

Life Expectancy Continues to Improve - Life expectancy in Australia has reached record highs with a boy born today expected to live to 80.7 years and a girl to 84.9 years, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
New opioid overdose tool added to PBS will save Australian lives - A new nasal spray form of naloxone – a life-saving antidote medicine used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation – will be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 November.
Stolen generations ‘wrongly’ treated for PTSD - Researchers say mental health practitioners are wrongly diagnosing Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to a lack of cultural awareness.
Vocation-focused graduates top jobs market - The 2019 Graduate Outcomes Survey released found: the full-time graduate employment rate was 72.2 per cent. Regional universities had the highest rates of full-time employment: Charles Sturt University (86 per cent), Charles Darwin University (82 per cent) and James Cook University (80 per cent).
Amended PBS listings to save melanoma and multiple sclerosis patients up to $128,900 a year - Australians suffering from melanoma and multiple sclerosis will soon have new treatment options, with new and amended PBS listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) coming into effect on 1 November.
Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - While the mortality rate from cardiac conditions is falling among the Indigenous population, it is still higher than among non-Indigenous Australians. The incidence of acute rheumatic fever among Indigenous Australians continues to be much higher than in non-Indigenous Australians.

Breast cancer MRI added to Medicare - women with or suspected of having breast cancer will be able to claim Medicare benefits for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, from 1 November 2019. Approximately 14,000 patients each year, predominantly women, will benefit from these services.
Upcoming Events & Conferences


Health Consumers' Council - Diversity Dialogues forum - "Creating Connections"

4 November 2019
189 Wellington Street, Perth City, WA

Medicines Management 2019 (MM2019): 45th SHPA National Conference.

14-16 November 2019
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, QLD

36th ACEM Annual Scientific Meeting (ACEM2019)

17-21 November 2019
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, TAS

Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration—Outcomes and Benchmarking Conference.

20-21 November 2019
International Convention Centre, Sydney, NSW

Paramedics Australasia International Conference (PAIC19).

28-30 November 2019
Wrest Point Hobart, TAS

For information on other upcoming events please visit our website here
Current Job Vacancies

Physiotherapist - Rural Workforce Agency Norther Territory (RWA NT) are partnering with Alice Springs Physiotherapy and Sports injury Clinic to find a Physiotherapist to join their multi-disciplinary team. Alice Springs Physiotherapy and Sports injury Clinic was established in 1994 and has continued to develop and provide excellence in Physiotherapy services and other Health Services to the population of Alice Springs and surrounding areas.

Allied Health Clinical Lead, Physiotherapist & Clinical Lead, Occupational Therapy -
Based in Mount Isa you will have the opportunity to work within an innovative inter-professional team consisting of Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Public Health Nutrition, Rehabilitation Assistant and Speech Pathology.

Mental Health Clinician Candidate Pool - Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, Murray Bridge & Berri. This is a great opportunity to enjoy being part of a friendly country health service, where you will experience broad exposure to a variety of clinical settings. You will contribute to the delivery of a comprehensive and integrated range of evidence-based, recovery-oriented services across the multidisciplinary Mental Health Service appropriate to the needs of consumers in the Riverland and Murray Mallee communities.

Allied Health Candidate Pool - Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network is accepting applications for Allied Health positions located in the Riverland Region. Applicants for Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Podiatry, Speech Pathology, Dietetics and Social Worker roles, interested in ongoing, temporary or casual employment are welcome.

Physiotherapist 2 Positions - Mount Isa
Full time positions, Salary Range: Pending qualification and years of experience, 5 weeks annual leave (17.5% leave loading), superannuation, 2 return flights to value of $1800, $5,200 professional development allowance, retention incentive, salary packaging available.

Occupational Therapist 2 Positions - Mount Isa

The Occupational Therapist reports to the Allied Health Manager and is part of the Health Services team. The position is responsible for working in conjunction with a small multi-disciplinary Primary Health Care team in the delivery of culturally appropriate Occupational Therapy to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, including paediatrics, school-based programs, chronic disease self-management and rehabilitation.The role will entail outreach service delivery from clinic-based and community-based settings, both in Mount Isa and outreach to the communities of Mornington Island, Doomadgee, Burketown, Normanton and Karumba.
Copyright © 2018 Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH). All rights reserved.

Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
Unit 4, 17 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT, 2600

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