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There are a couple of items related to data in Connected this week.  While this may sound dry, data - or the lack of it - impacts all of us.  Plus, the mantra about evidence-based policy (at least when it supports the decisions being made) is unlikely to disappear.

Readers are almost certainly aware SARRAH and others have been calling for years for better allied health workforce and service data.  There are many reasons this matters, not least because not having the data means it is:

  • harder to prove gaps we know about also ‘exist’ in the world of policy and decision making;
  • difficult to target investment to impact, especially in a fiercely competitive resource environment, where some have the resources to collect and use data and others don’t;
  • impossible to produce fully informed or balanced analysis on which to plan and invest; and
  • largely guesswork as to what the human and downstream systems impacts are of decisions to fund or not fund a service, let alone complementary or alternative services.
So data matters – immensely. It’s much easier to develop a needs-based case for service investment when you already have the data, support systems and resource capacity to demonstrate and (at least partly) deliver it.  But too often the information we need to plan, invest in and deliver services, and to evaluate, refine and improve them, isn’t collected. 

The absence of data doesn’t mean community need isn’t real or services to address them don’t or couldn’t exist. And it certainly doesn't mean we should wait for the data we need to be available - especially while communities in need of services continue to go without.

This is a big topic of course, but here is some information about Australia’s allied health workforce data-holdings and some of the issues associated with it:
  • The most comprehensive health workforce data we have is the Australia Health Practitioners’ Regulation Agency (Ahpra) registrations data – which is also the basis for other key datasets;
    • The Ahpra data includes all health professions regulated through Ahpra, but does not include self-regulated professionals, such as dietitians, social workers, audiologists, prosthetists, speech pathologists and many others (with apologies for those not named);
    • Unfortunately, we have very little information about the profile of these workforces, including their size and location;
  • Too often the list of Ahpra professions is used as a proxy used to enable or constrain professional practice – with no direct or actual reference to the capability or scopes of practice of the professions concerned:
    • This is playing out now in decisions around administration of COVID vaccinations and definitions used by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which constrains activity without reference to skills or capacity;
    • It is also contributing to ongoing confusion between governments, police and other bodies about whether allied health professionals are considered an essential workers, with consequent impacts on movement and capacity to work;
  • Activity-level data collected through the Medical Benefits Scheme aggregates all allied health disciplines delivering chronic disease management services, rendering that potentially revealing data set impotent
  • When SARRAH sought information from the Commonwealth about allied health investment and uptake in a major health workforce program (attached to the National Rural Health Strategy) we were informed the information is neither available, nor actually collected.

These are some of the reasons why I enter into any discussion about allied health workforce data with a high degree of caution.  But we have to start somewhere, or risk ongoing exclusion from workforce and service planning discussions. Clearly it’s in SARRAH and our members' interests that we improve awareness of and information about allied health – especially if we are to improve access and capacity where those services are in short supply.

While that’s happening, we already know allied health workforce is chronic and severe and it is impacting rural and remote communities. Workforce shortages broadly correlate with higher rates of chronic disease, potentially preventable hospitalisations and shorter lives.  Data matters, but so does committed action, even when the data hasn’t been collected - yet.

Stay Safe!


If you think allied health and equity are important …

In Connected last week we reminded readers about the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry into the provision of general practitioner and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians and submissions being accepted up to cob Thursday 30 September.

Again, we encourage SARRAH members and friends to consider making a short submission to ensure our parliamentarians understand allied health services, workforce, and access ins needed in rural and remote Australia – in health, aged care, disability, veterans’ services, childhood development, rehabilitation etc.
Here is how to make a submission.  It doesn’t need to be long. 
Here’s a sample you could draw on if it helps. 

This is who and where to send it to.
Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

HealthDirect Australia’s strategic plan – are you a registered service? 
HealthDirect Australia is the national (cross-)government-owned virtual health information provider and has just launched its Strategic Plan 2021-24. The Plan describes how HealthDirect Australia will seek to improve the health of Australians with its 30+ health services and online tools.  HealthDirect Australia is aiming “to improve health outcomes and literacy by providing more accessible health information, advice and referral to all Australians anywhere, anytime”.
In the Plan, HealthDirect note Government health policy priorities include:
  • improving equity of access and health outcomes, especially for rural and remote areas and Indigenous Australians
  • shifting the focus from health care to health and well being
  • orienting services around the consumer, improving health literacy and empowering consumers to monitor, manage and improve their own health
  • improving the coordination of care, especially across primary health and hospital services.
The priorities are good, even better if they can be delivered on.  To this end, it’s important people in rural and remote communities know your services exists and how to access them. If you’re not already registered with and using HealthDirect please think about doing so.

If you want to register your health service with the NHSD, first check if it is an existing listing. If your service is not already listed, complete the NHSD online registration form.  If you would like to make changes to an existing listing, email the amendments to the NHSD team.

Our friends across the Tasman frequently show an inclination to independent thinking and having a go; unfortunately demonstrated frequently to our detriment on various sporting fields. But these inclinations make it worthwhile checking in on our neighbours. We know there are differences in geography and political structures, but we also share challenges – like ensuring access and equity to care for rural and remote populations and improving outcomes with Indigenous peoples.
A recent reminder of this was the excellent plenary presentation, Allied Health: New Strategies to realise our potential Dr Martin Chadwick gave to our (on-line) National Allied Health Conference in August. As New Zealand’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Martin works in partnership with the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Office in providing transdisciplinary clinical leadership and advice. The role works at a systems level as well as providing support to clinicians, programmes and projects. His biography for the Conference noted “He is passionate about the untapped potential that allied health professions can bring in improving the quality of care provided to our populations, and in turn better meeting equitable population health needs.”
The proactive and strategic approach Mark advocates for allied health also underpins the report Hidden in plain sight: Optimising the allied health professions for better, more sustainable integrated care (June 2021) by Sarah Hogan of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) – commissioned by Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ) – which is  well worth a read if you haven’t already had a chance to do so.

SARRAH has provided several submissions in 2021 to the Federal Government and Allied Health Organizations. SARRAH Submissions are available to review on the website and the following link.

Teleaudiology Guidelines Feedback

Joint Standing Committee  NDIS Inquiry into the NDIS Workforce - Cover Letter

Joint Standing Committee of the NDIS Workforce - National Workforce Plan - SARRAH Submission

 Submission to Serious Incident Response Scheme for Commonwealth funded in-home aged care services

Submission to Care Workforce Labour Market Study : Discussion Paper

Submission to Draft Recommendations of the Primary Health Reform Steering Group

Forthcoming submissions

An inquiry into the provision of general practitioner and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians

SARRAH members may also be interested in other, forthcoming parliamentary inquiries and consultations to which SARRAH intends to contribute.  As always, we would welcome the expertise and insights of members and friends in preparing these submissions.  If you are interested, please contact Allan at

Thank you to our fabulous corporate members! 
Member Benefits include:
  • Free advertising for positions vacant, CPD activities, e-bulletins and social media
  • Access to SARRAH’s webinars, online forums and communities of practice for employees
  • Discounted rates for employees to SARRAH's online CPD program
  • Discounted rates for employees to SARRAH's biennial conference and 2 x complimentary registrations
  • Invitation to attend SARRAH's annual summits and contribute to SARRAH’s policy work
To find out more about partnering with SARRAH contact

Thanks to those who have already sent in their videos in preparation for Allied Health Professions Day 2021.  I'm always so inspired to hear about the fantastic work going on across rural and remote Australia.  Great work everyone! 

To help us celebrate, w
e are calling expression of interest to do the following to share through SARRAH communication channels during the month of October:

  • Take a video of yourself that tells us: **who you are (including your professional background) ** what you do **where you work and **what it is you love about allied health! - Try this website to take your video … less pain with transferring large files … (www.loom.come.g.
  • Take a selfie and send us the pic along with three lines that summarise: who you are (including your professional background), what you do, where you work and what it is you love about allied health!

We are also keen to promote Allied Health professional’s profiles in October. If you are interested, we would love to be able to have a profile a day. Enclosing your photograph would be good to go with the profile.

Below is an example 

 Hi I am NAME and am a HEALTH PROFESSION by background. I work as a CLINICAL AREA OF PRACTICE and work for ORGANISATION. I live and work in LOCATION OF WORKPLACE. I love allied health because we excel at helping people sort out the “grey” areas in their lives!

 If you could please do this by the 1st of October, we would be very very grateful!

If there is anyone else you think we should promote, please disseminate this information to your colleagues and networks. 

Please send your video/profile to by 1 October 2021.

The SARRAH SQUAWK Award is a prestigious award, established to recognise SARRAH members for making significant service to the organisation or an outstanding contribution to Australia’s rural and remote allied health through:
  • Exemplary professional standards of excellence to the community and public that goes above and beyond the regular standards of service
  • Leadership, guidance, mentoring, and governance; in a team or for a group
  • Implementation of a process or system to achieve more efficacy, higher efficiency, improved productivity, or better service delivery
  • Innovation in research, a program, project, or policy development

Please click visit SARRAH website for :

  • Conditions of entry
  • Nomination process and submission guidelines, and
  • Assessment process.
The nominations close on Friday, 15 October 2021.

Supporting the loss and grief of families and relatives of those in aged care as a result of COVID 19 - Thursday, September 30,2021 at 2:00pm AEST 
About the Webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the aged care sector in Australia. There has been a considerable amount of loss in unrivalled circumstances and prolonged uncertainty which has caused an enormous amount of distress. As a result, the families and friends of older people,  particularly aged care residents, have experienced grief and losses. For more information and to register please click here

IAHA National Conference is NOW ONLINE and open for registrations 
Due to the ongoing public health orders and border restrictions, IAHA will now be offering an adapted version of the 2021 IAHA National Conference ONLINE.
This will be an exciting event, where delegates can engage with each other in an interactive program over two days, from 1st to 2nd December 2021, including keynote addresses, workshops and cultural activities. To register please click here

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Scholarships -  The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarships Scheme - Applications are now open!

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme (PHMSS) is designed to encourage and assist undergraduate students in health-related disciplines to complete their studies and join the health workforce. In addition, the scheme provides scholarships for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people studying an entry-level health course. To find out more and apply please click here

A New CareSerch Portal Launched !
Flinders University launched a new and interactive portal to empower everyone in Australia to make informed palliative care decisions.
The new CareSearch Portal has evidence-based information resources and tools to support:

The CareSerch Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. To learn how the new CareSearch Portal was developed, plus the research, consultations, and partnerships that shaped its content and design, you can read this blog written by CareSearch Director Professor Jennifer Tieman.

Remote Primary Health Care Manuals - Project Update.
The Remote Primary Health Care Manuals are currently being reviewed and updated. Read more here 

Does your organisation has a rural or remote health vacancy that you wish to advertise please complete and submit the Advertising Listing Form to

Occupational Therapist - Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, Murray Bridge
The Occupational Therapist applies clinical experience, increasingly generalist and/or specialist clinical knowledge and professional competence to plan, implement and evaluate a comprehensive and integrated range of services, appropriate to the needs of the local community. The Occupational Therapist works under reduced clinical direction and may contribute to the clinical supervision of less experienced allied health professionals, allied health assistants and students. As a member of a multi-professional team, including health professionals and service providers from other sectors, the Occupational Therapist utilizes a combination of preventative, early intervention, treatment / therapy and evaluation approaches. Read more here

Physiotherapist Level 3 - Rural Generalist
Singleton Community Health Service is seeking a highly motivated Physiotherapist Level 3 - Rural Generalist to provide a high quality clinical service to clients and their families/carers to ensure the provision of optimal outcomes for consumers of the service. The position covers both inpatient and outpatient caseloads and is based at Singleton Hospital, forming part of the Hunter Valley Community Health team. You will be supported in this role with comprehensive orientation and our friendly Level 5 Physiotherapist based at Muswellbrook Hospital. Read more here 

Health Clinician - Tamworth Joint Child Protection Response Program 
A fantastic permanent full time opportunity for a Social Worker or Psychologist to make a difference as a Health Clinician in the Joint Child Protection Response Program! As a Health Clinician you will provide specialist crisis counselling, health assessment, support, education, information and advocacy to victims of serious child abuse that may be criminal in nature and their non-offending family members. Read more here

Clinical Psychologist - Trans and Gender Diverse Health Service
We have two permanent opportunities for experienced, passionate professionals to become a part of a dynamic multi-disciplinary team providing care for trans and gender diverse young people up to 25 years. Maple Leaf House is a service provided by John Hunter Children’s Hospital and is a clinic based service located at Hamilton. Read more here 

Occupational Therapist Level 1/2 - Maitland Hospital
The Maitland Hospital is a busy regional hospital that provides care to medical, surgical and paediatric patients. We are seeking a passionate, hardworking professional to join our supportive Occupational Therapy team at Maitland Hospital! The position will move to the new Maitland Hospital in Metford early in 2022 with the successful candidate becoming a member of the OT team at Maitland but also a part of the wider Lower Hunter Sector Occupational Therapy team. Read more here

Regional Social Worker AHP2 - Port Augusta
This is a fantastic opportunity to work in an ongoing full time position where you will apply your clinical experience, increasingly generalist and / or specialist clinical knowledge and professional competence to plan, implement and evaluate a comprehensive and integrated range of services, appropriate to the needs of the local community in Port Augusta. Read more here 

Mental Health Clinician - Port Lincoln
Joining the Community Mental Health Team, you will plan, implement and evaluate a comprehensive and integrated range of mental health services appropriate to the needs of consumers in the Eyre & Far North Local Health Network (EFNLHN).  Read more here

Allied Health Assistant Level 3 - Manning Hospital
Manning Hospital serves the local communities of Taree, Forster, Tuncurry and surrounding district and has undergone significant redevelopment following a $140 million investment with a further $40M planned. Manning Base Hospital has 180 beds with all the specialties you would expect of a Rural Hospital. Read more here

Senior Sexual Assault Worker - Tamworth
As a Senior Sexual Assault Worker, you will provide high-quality clinical services as part of the busy intake and assessment team for children, adults, and families who have experienced sexual assault to ensure optimal health outcomes are met. As the successful applicant, you will be supported in this role with clinical support and educational opportunities to develop skill sets to assist with the response to sexual assault. Read more here

Speech Pathologist Level 1/2 -Muswellbrook
As a Speech Pathologist Level 1/2 you will provide a high quality clinical service to clients and their families/carers to ensure the provision of optimal health outcomes for consumers of the Hunter Valley Community Health Speech Pathology service. This position forms part of our dynamic and supportive multidisciplinary community health team based in the Hunter Valley. Read more here

Dietitian Level 1/2- Muswellbrook
As a Dietitian Level 1/2, you will provide a high-quality clinical service to clients and their families/carers to ensure the provision of optimal health outcomes for consumers of the Hunter Valley Community Health Dietetics service. This role is supported by members of the Hunter Valley Dietetics team, along with a line manager and clinical supervisor of your choosing. Attendance at continuing professional development opportunities is welcomed and encouraged. Read more here

SENIOR ROLES - Speech Pathologist,  Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist - WACHS
Wander out yonder and experience the best of regional WA by working with the WA Country Health Service. We are an organisation committed to providing innovative, high quality, consumer-centered healthcare locally to support healthy, thriving regional communities throughout Western Australia As a P2 Senior Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, or Physiotherapist in the WA Country Health service (WACHS), you will plan, coordinate, and provide services to a designated caseload of inpatient, outpatient and community clients.  You will also undertake supervisory and administrative duties as part of the WA Country Health Service provision. Read more here

Deputy Director (South West) for Southern Queensland Rural Health (SQRH) - Charleville
The Deputy Director (South West) will provide advanced level operational and professional leadership, advice, and collaboration on strategic priorities in conjunction with the SQRH Director and senior staff to ensure the delivery of coordinated, efficient, and high quality interprofessional clinical education and training to students and staff in the allied health, nursing and midwifery professions across rural and remote Southern Queensland. Read more here

Senior Speech Pathologist Level 3 Oncology Specialist
Manning Hospital Speech Pathology is seeking an experienced, proactive Senior Speech Pathologist to join our dynamic team on a permanent basis! The position will be based at Manning Hospital in Taree, but will also provide outreach services across the Lower Mid North Coast Sector. Read more here

Senior Occupational Therapist - Top end mental health service unit 
An exciting opportunity currently exists for an experienced Senior Occupational Therapist to join the Top End Mental Health Inpatient Unit as part of the Multidisciplinary Acute Team at Royal Darwin Hospital Mental Health Unit. Read more here 

Paediatric Physiotherapist - Community Allied Health, Alice Springs
If you want your career to go places then join the Department of Health in the Northern Territory. The challenges and opportunities in health and community care in the Territory are like no other in Australia, from remote Aboriginal health to tropical health and urban tertiary care. Continued investments in Aboriginal health, remote health, acute care and community services offer many opportunities for health professionals who want to be part of making a difference. Read more here

Clinical Educator (Allied Health) - Southern Queensland Rural Health - Charleville
This position will see you supporting effective, high-quality rural training experiences for undergraduate allied health students across regional, rural, and remote Southern Queensland. You will also facilitate interprofessional learning opportunities during student placements and enhance of support and education to both students and clinical supervisors. Read more here
Speech Pathologist Rural Generalist, Mount Isa, QLD
This opportunity is allowing a Speech Pathologist with min. 2 years' experience to step into a supported leadership position, supervising a small team of new graduate speech pathologists whilst conducting a service planning project through the level 2 Allied Health Rural Generalist Graduate Certificate. Read more here.

Physiotherapist, Nhulunbuy, NT
Arnhem Physiotherapy Services are looking for a Physiotherapist keen for the ultimate adventure living and working throughout beautiful East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Passionate about helping people and with at least one year of experience in private practice. Read more here.

Speech Pathologist, Cape York, QLD
Capability Health is looking for a Speech Pathologist to become a part of their family. They operate in various locations with a diverse range of people of all ages and backgrounds; meaning every day is different. Capability Health provides friendly, holistic, and necessary allied health services to the community. Read more here.

Occupational Therapist, Cape York, QLD
Capability Health is looking for an Occupational Therapist to become a part of their family. They operate in various locations with a diverse range of people of all ages and backgrounds; meaning every day is different. Capability Health provides friendly, holistic, and necessary allied health services to the community. Read more here.

Physiotherapist, Cape York, QLD
Capability Health is looking for a Physiotherapist to become a part of their family. They operate in various locations with a diverse range of people of all ages and backgrounds; meaning every day is different. Capability Health provides friendly, holistic, and necessary allied health services to the community. Read more here.

Speech Pathologist, Moranbah, QLD
Locally owned private practice in Central Queensland. The practice has a driven and proven focus on ensuring families living in geographically isolated areas of Central Queensland have access to high quality, evidence-based speech pathology services. Read more here.

Clinical Psychologist, Moranbah, QLD
Moranbah is located in the Isaac region of Central Queensland Australia between Mackay and Clermont. Situated on the Peak Downs Highway, the coal mining town of Moranbah services the surrounding farming community as well as the families of those employed in the mining and associated industries. Read more here.

Physiotherapist, Moranbah, QLD
Moranbah is located in the Isaac region of Central Queensland Australia between Mackay and Clermont. Situated on the Peak Downs Highway, the coal mining town of Moranbah services the surrounding farming community as well as the families of those employed in the mining and associated industries. Read more here.

Occupational Therapist, Whitsundays, QLD
Have you ever wanted to live and work in the Whitsundays? Well here is your chance to join our fabulous, close-knit team. A rapidly growing Speech Pathology clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and driven occupational therapist with a desire to make a difference within our community. Read more here.

Physiotherapist, Wodonga VIC
Do you want to re-focus your career? Are you looking for a team that thinks outside the box? What about one day off every month?! You will be mentored to become an exceptional clinician, providing hands-on physio services to a wide range of clients. Join our fun, friendly team! Read more here.

8th Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium - Connecting research, practice & communities
October 6-7 2021 -  Hyatt Hotel Canberra, ACT 
AASW Conference - Online 
11-13 November 2021
International Mental Health Conference 
October 18-20 -  RACV Royal Pines Resort Gold Coast 

2021 National Closing the Gap First Nations Health Conference 
November 22-24, 2021 - Gold Coast QLD 
2021 National First Nation's Health Conference 
November 24-26 - Sea World Resort, Gold Coast QLD
IAHA National Conference - ONLINE 
1-2 December 2021
2021 First Nations Allied Health Conference

December 13-15 2021 - Pullman Cairns International Hotel, Cairns QLD
IAHA Indigenous Allied Health Australia Conference
29 November - 2 December 2021 - Sunshine Coast  

Indigenous Wellbeing Conference 
6-7 December at Pullman Cairns International, QLD
3rd National Indigenous NDIS: Working Towards a Better Future Through Partnerships and Co-operation Conference - December 14-17, 2021 - Pullman Cairns International Hotel, Cairns QLD 
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference

28-30 March 2022 - Sea World Resort Conference Centre - Gold Coast
Copyright © 2021 Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH). All rights reserved.

Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
Level 2, 53 Blackall Street, Barton, ACT, 2600

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