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Message from the SARRAH team

It’s been another busy week for the SARRAH team. Cath has taken a well-deserved break and has been travelling around far western NSW enjoying some of the many wonderful camping locations on offer.

As you know, our communications focus for July is chronic disease. This week we have highlighted through our social media channels some key evidence bites about chronic disease, preventable hospital admissions, and the vital role of allied health professionals.

We know that as remoteness increases, so too do the number of people that are admitted to hospital for conditions that could have been managed in the community. We also know that on a population basis there are generally fewer than half the allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia than in metropolitan areas. That’s apart from the issues of access that come with location and distance. Maldistribution in the allied health workforce impacts service access. Unfortunately, access to allied health  is even harder than for our colleagues in nursing, general practice and hospital-based medical practice. You can see both the relative number of health professionals and the impact or rurality highlighted on the graph below.  

We know allied health professionals play a key role in keeping people well, helping those with chronic disease to manage their condition and stay out of hospital. So, it’s no surprise that we see both rates of chronic disease and of potentially avoidable hospital admissions increase significantly for Australians living in more remote locations. The AIHW outlines that potentially avoidable hospital admissions are 2.5 times higher in remote areas than in metropolitan regions (AIHW, 2019). That, clearly, is associated with workforce and service accessibility. SARRAH will continue to advocate for equity is access to allied health professionals for all Australians.

This week SARRAH appeared at the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. You will hear more from Cath, who joined the Committee by phone from a roadside stop in Broken Hill, about this in the next edition of Connected, so stay tuned. In other NDIS news we note that the proposed changes to the NDIS price guide were modified to enable flexibility with the loadings applied to items relating to telehealth for people living in remote areas. This will assist many rural businesses to continue to provide a mixed model of service delivery to people in remote areas. We wrote to the NDIA following feedback from our members on this issue and will continue to look for opportunities to promote the voice of rural practitioners in these decisions. It is promising to see the view of the sector being heard.

Stay well everyone,

The SARRAH team

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2019. Rural and Remote Health, retrieved online

Free SARRAH Webinar - Allied Health Utilisation Findings from the Crossroads-II Study

Rural communities are distinctly different from urban communities, and from each other. Health services need to be tailored to each community. 'One size fits all' solutions are unlikely to be effective. On Tuesday 28 July 2pm (AEST), SARRAH will be hosting a free webinar presented by Dr Kristen Glenister.

Data from studies like Crossroads-II can be used to advocate for additional allied health services to meet the needs of rural communities. Findings from Crossroads-I were used to advocate for increased numbers of allied health professionals from one at a particular rural hospital to 11 at the time of Crossroads-II.

Allied health utilisation results from the Crossroads-II study capture allied health services subsidised by Medicare or private health insurance, as well as services paid for 'out of pocket', and thus provides a unique insight. For example; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures for 2017-2018 report that 3% of Australians received Medicare subsidised physiotherapy services in that financial year, whereas 18% of Crossroads-II respondents had received physiotherapy services in the past 12 months, likely via Medicare subsidy, private health insurance or paid 'out of pocket'.

Registration for this webinar can be found here.

SARRAH Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we do business and highlighted how allied health can adapt to thrive. An Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway grant can support you in recruiting or retaining an early career professional to future-proof your business by capability in emerging areas like telehealth. The overarching goal of the Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway strategy (AHRGP strategy) is to improve health outcomes for rural and remote consumers through increasing access to a highly skilled allied health workforce and enhancing opportunities for multi-disciplinary care in rural healthcare teams. Applying is simple and will help you put the right foot forward in this new era. Visit to learn more and apply.
Rural Locum Assistance Program Extended
Rural Locum Assistance Program has approval to continue supporting rural and remote health services with vacant positions during COVID-19. The Australian Government Department of Health extends support of vacant positions until 30 September 2020. Further information can be found here:
Other News
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have released three new reports this week. These include core monitoring information on the prevalence, incidence, hospitalisation and deaths from chronic kidney disease (CKD), core monitoring information on the incidence, prevalence, hospitalisation and deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) (including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure), and core monitoring information on the prevalence, incidence, hospitalisation and deaths from diabetes (including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes). These regularly updated reports can be read in the links.
Current Job Vacancies

Community Speech Pathologist - Rural Generalist 
LTTS is a locally owned and operated business that offers assessments and therapy, paediatric services, and community services to a wide range of clients. LTTS are seeking suitably qualified professional Speech Pathologists to join our dynamic team and help the successful candidate toward becoming a rural generalist, by supporting them to commence the allied health rural generalist pathway. Read more here.

Community Psychologist (Rural Generalist) - Remote/Rural Queensland
LTTS is a locally owned and operated business that offers assessments and therapy, paediatric services, and community services to a wide range of clients that include Educational groups, Community based groups, Disability groups and Aged Care groups.  LTTS is excited to help the successful candidate toward becoming a rural generalist, by supporting them to commence the allied health rural generalist pathway. Read more here.

Registered Psychologist - Nhulunbuy, NT
Rural Workforce Agency NT have partnered with Outlook Psychology Practice (OPP) to find a Registered Psychologist to join their friendly and supportive team in Nhulunbuy. OPP promotes the mental well-being of individuals and families in East Arnhem communities, by providing professional and accessible counselling and psychological services, for all ages. Read more here.

Occupational Therapist - Allied Health Rural Generalist Position - Albury NSW
My Word Speech Therapy is expanding their service to include Occupational Therapy services and have an exciting new position that includes training in rural allied health. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to participate in the Allied Health Rural Generalist Workforce and Education Scheme. For more information, follow the link to our website.

Physiotherapist – Katherine Physio - Katherine
Rural Workforce Agency Northern Territory (RWA NT) are partnering with Katherine Physio to find a Physiotherapist to join their passionate Katherine based team. Katherine Physio is a community based practice who work hard to educate their patients on their condition and empower them with the tools to assist self-management. For more information visit our website.

Attention Allied Health Professionals! This is your chance to have your say about your CPD experiences.
Do we do CPD because we have to, because we want to, because we learn new things to use at work?
This short survey is part of PhD research about Allied Health clinician CPD experiences and why we do CPD
To participate in the CPD survey - click here

SARRAH Telehealth Community of Practice

As remote working becomes the new norm, telehealth is more popular than ever. SARRAH is ready to support allied health professionals navigate telehealth. To find further info or join our SARRAH Telehealth Community of Practice email or visit our dedicated telehealth resource page here.

Upcoming Events and conferences 

OT Exchange 2020
22-23 June 2020
Online Conference
HIC 2020
19-21 October 2020
Brisbane, QLD
21st International Mental Health Conference
12-14 November 2020
RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, QLD
Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conference
25 - 27 November 2020
Mantra Legends, Gold Coast
Associations Forum National Conference
30 November - 1 December 2020
Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane
The 2020 Workplace Mental Health Symposium
Hilton, Brisbane, QLD1
7th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium:
Shaping the future

Alice Springs Convention Centre, NT
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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