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Message from the CEO

At an appropriate point the Department of Health will pick up the threads of their consultations on the 10-year Primary Health Care Plan.  As part of Australia’s “Long Term National Health Plan”, the Primary Health Care plan promises to provide better support to manage conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and mental ill health, and better support to stay healthy and avoid illness.  So I guess we can check telehealth off the list as “delivered”, and also the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement that commenced in July 2020.   In health workforce, considerable work is being done to improve rural workforce distribution, as SARRAH is working with our allied health colleagues and stakeholders to implement the Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway in non-government settings.  This strategy is one way by which rural and remote Australians living with chronic disease might have better access to services to help them manage their condition, by addressing the severe shortage of allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia and making a rural career a real and viable option for early career allied health professionals.
 
There remains the thorny issue of the medical benefits schedule, pivotal because it is the means by which chronic disease management is funded in Australia.  Under a GP Management Plan, Medicare offers part-payment for up to 5 allied health services per patient each calendar year. Somewhat pointedly, the government website adds that “…Additional services are not possible in any circumstances.”  Is this adequate to the task of helping people manage their health condition?
 
The research suggests that people with good self-management skills make better health and lifestyle decisions and use health professionals’ time more effectively than people without these skills (see much of the work of Karen Grimmer among many for further details).   In November 2019 the Consumer Health Forum released a report that suggest that investing in measures to assist patients to exercise more choice and control in their healthcare would deliver high-value returns for those living with chronic illness. The findings indicated that people with low levels of activation may need one-on-one support to understand their condition and to gradually see the way forward to taking control and managing it. 
 
Policy makers are aware of this, according to the Report on the Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health Care (May 2016).  Importantly, the report raises the issue that we are not all the same in terms of support for self-care, and some tailoring is required.  Where patients are not highly engaged in their own health care, the report describes many beautiful examples of effective models of care, all of which require more intensive intervention (eg 2 hours per week over 6 weeks) to achieve program outcomes.    In the end, the standing committee recommended (among others) “…that the Australian Government investigate expanding the number of allied health treatments that can attract a Medicare Benefits Schedule rebate … within a year, on the proviso that the patient has the relevant General Practitioner Management Plan in place and Team Care Arrangements in place” (recommendation 3).  Similarly, in 2018 the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce (Allied Health reference group) recommended among other things to increase the number of allied health treatments under team care arrangements “…by stratifying patients to identify those with more complex care requirements”.
 
It is disappointing, therefore to see no mention of this in the consultation paper on the 10-year Primary Health Care Plan.  Perhaps as the world grapples with a pandemic and people living with chronic illness avoid accessing the healthcare they need over a prolonged period of time, the government will act on the evidence and advice at their fingertips to ensure that all Australians can access an appropriate level of care to achieve their health goals, no matter where they live.

Stay well, everyone.

Cath
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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 https://sarrah.org.au/ahrgp to learn more and apply.
Current Job Vacancies

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.

Speech Pathologist - Top End, Darwin Region
Rural Workforce Agency Northern Territory (RWA NT) are partnering with Top End Allied Health (TEAH) to find a Speech Pathologist to add to their experienced Darwin based team. TEAH is a leading National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) registered provider for Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Social Work and Support Coordination. For more information, follow the link to our website.

Senior Occupational Therapist - Darwin, Palmerston
An exciting opportunity currently exists for an experienced Occupational Therapist to join Acute Occupational Therapy Services as part of the Multidisciplinary Acute Team at Royal Darwin and Palmerston Regional Hospital. For more information, follow the link to our website.

Occupational Therapist - Darwin, Palmerston NT
An exciting opportunity currently exists for an experienced Occupational Therapist to join Acute Occupational Therapy Services as part of the Multidisciplinary Acute Team at Royal Darwin and Palmerston Regional Hospital. For more information, follow the link to our website.

Psychologist - Wurrumiyanga on the Tiwi Islands NT
An experienced health professional needed to provide a psychology service to remote Aboriginal communities on the Tiwi Islands and Belyuen. The psychologist will have the dual role of providing counselling services to residents and increasing the knowledge and skills of the primary health care staff to deliver trauma informed care. For more information, follow the link to our website.

Specialist Mental Health Worker - Senior - Katherine NT
NT Health require an experienced mental health worker to provide community mental health assessment, treatment, counselling and case management services for people experiencing acute and chronic dysfunction associated with mental illness or mental disorder in a community and remote setting. For more information, follow the link to our website.

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.

Team Leader - PATCHES Therapy Services - Northern Territory
PATCHES Therapy Services is seeking a motivated Team Leader to join and drive their Darwin-based team. PATCHES consists of a transdisciplinary team extensively supported by diagnostic services and clinical administrative staff. Services are delivered to NDIS, private and justice system participants. 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.

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 sarrah@sarrah.org.au 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
TBC
Hilton, Brisbane, QLD1
7th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium:
Shaping the future

TBC
Alice Springs Convention Centre, NT
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Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
Unit 4, 17 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT, 2600

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