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In our appearance before the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS earlier this week, we fielded a range of questions that revolved around data as a starting point to the discussion on building a fit-for-purpose rural allied health workforce to meet current and future needs of Australians living with disability.

In my view we cannot afford to wait for data to tell us what we already know - that there is an acute and worsening shortage of allied health professionals in regional, rural and remote Australia, and that it will take years to reach a point where workforce supply reaches anything near to meeting demand.  

So often in engaging with the politicians on this subject they seem overly concerned with the cost to the system if these shortfalls are to be addressed. This puts a negative lens over the critical actions needed to overcome the challenges to delivering equitable access to services for rural and remote Australians.  Several years ago SARRAH published a report entitled ‘The Impact of allied health professionals in improving outcomes and reducing the cost of treating diabetes, osteoarthritis and stroke’ . The report reviewed all available evidence and evaluated the economic impact of allied services provided to Australians with three common health conditions – stroke, diabetes and osteoarthritis - and identified significant potential annual savings to the Australian healthcare budget from the implementation of eight allied health interventions.

This approach is just as applicable in the context of disability, especially when potential loss of economic participation by people living with disability is added to the picture.  As allied health professionals we fundamentally understand and are committed to ensuring people are empowered to lead their best lives.  But so often we hear our political leaders speak to the enormous cost of the NDIS, without considering the cost of "doing nothing", or weighing the cost against the social and economic benefits in committing to an inclusive and supportive society.

So concerns about the cost of investing in a rural allied health workforce should not form any part of the discussion. We need a multi-pronged, cross-sector workforce development strategy urgently to avoid further widening of the socioeconomic gap between metropolitan and rural/remote Australia.  And we can't wait for data to get started.  We need to work with what we have and build a rural workforce pipeline on the fly.


Stay Safe!

Cath


SARRAH appearance before the Parliamentary Inquiry into the NDIS Workforce Plan

On Tuesday 12 October, SARRAH President, Ed Johnson, CEO, Cath Maloney and Director Policy and Strategy, Allan Groth, appeared (virtually) before the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee (JSC) on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)  to discuss the NDIS National Workforce Plan.  The Committee has been receptive to our views about the need to increase understanding of allied health among NDIA Planners and other staff and the need to increase supply of allied health services in rural and remote Australia.  Several of their Recommendations to government have reflected concerns expressed by SARRAH.  We hope their report on the current Inquiry increases the pressure for action.   

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Allied Health Professions Day - 14 October 2021
 
Those of you who follow our comms and social media will know we’ve been showing off how fabulous our members are and the work you do this week. What better way to celebrate?  Our friends at IAHA put out a media release  celebrating some of their members, their journeys and motivations. 

In both, the sense of purpose and contribution is evident.  It helps remind us of the on-the-ground, real value of what you do and what we’re here to support. Thank you AHPs for your valuable contributions!

Draft Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan - Consultations Open!

The Australian government has called for stakeholder views on the draft Plan.  There has been a long consultation process, led by a Government appointed Steering Group. SARRAH has sought and taken every opportunity possible to contribute and help shape the Steering Group’s Recommendation’s to Government. The previous iteration of the Steering Group’s report was a major improvement on earlier drafts. We’ll be considering the Government’s response – in this draft Plan – carefully and preparing a Submission. We encourage you to share your views with us, directly with the Department of Health (details below) or both.
 
Minister Hunt’s media release notes “It represents a high-level response to the draft recommendations of the Primary Health Reform Steering Group, which has been working since October 2019 on future directions for primary health care reform. The focus of the 10 Year Plan is on Australia’s primary health care services provided through general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), community pharmacies, allied health services, mental health services, community health and community nursing services and dental and oral health services. The Plan also focuses on the integration of primary health care with hospitals and other parts of the health system, aged care, disability care and social care systems. You can now provide feedback on the draft plan, and individuals and organisations with an interest in primary health care and what a future focused system can deliver for all Australians are encouraged to share their views.”

Written submissions can be provided until 11:59pm, 29 November 2021 at https://consultations.health.gov.au/primary-care-mental-health[1]division/draft-primary-health-care-10-year-plan.

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SARRAH Submissions 

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 links.

SARRAH Submission on the Draft National Mental Health (10 Year) Workforce Strategy

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

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 allan@sarrah.org.au.

Mental Health Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship Program

The Australian Government has provided more advice about the Mental Health Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship Program that was announced as part of the 2021-22 Budget.

The Program will provide 278 scholarships “to support mental health nurses and allied health practitioners including psychologists to enter the mental health workforce, in addition to
upskilling existing health practitioners in the mental health sector.”  More than half of these are designated for allied health.
 
Minister Gillespie is quoted as saying “It will also support up to 152 allied health practitioners including psychologists working in mental health and suicide prevention for related tertiary, vocational and continuing professional development courses and clinical placements.
 
The Program will also focus on rural and remote locations, with priority given to health care workers who live and/or work in these rural areas (MM 3-7).”
 
The process is being run through the Australian College of Nurses who’ve indicated “eligible individuals will be able to apply for a place from November 2021 through the ACN’s
Website.
 
Read more here
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National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy - Launched this week.
 
The Strategy provides a framework to guide the development of a comprehensive, integrated system of services to maintain and support the mental health and wellbeing of children aged 0-12 and their families.”(Minister Hunt)
Christine Morgan, CEO National Mental Health Commission -  “This is one of the most important and meaningful and significant pieces of work we have done at the Commission. This Strategy proposes a fundamental, cultural shift in the way we think about the mental health and wellbeing of our children, including a change in language and the adoption of a continuum-based model of mental health and wellbeing.”

It’s good to see a substantive shift toward prevention and early intervention.  The Strategy is available on the Commission’s website www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au.

The Department of Health published a fact sheet providing information for providers of residential respite to manage situations where people who need respite care are affected by isolation, quarantine requirements, health advice or other factors. This information sheet includes:

  • Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessments
  • Clients still need access to residential respite
  • Duration of respite care and extensions for clients
  • A streamlined process for a provider to increase or vary the number of respite days
  • respite incentive supplement
  • further information
Read more here 

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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Updates

Primary and community healthcare standards launched this week

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released the National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards, which describe the processes and structures in healthcare services that help keep people safe.

The new standards will give Australians confidence that when they visit a service accredited to the standards, they are receiving safe and high-quality health care – no matter the type of healthcare service they are using or where they access it.

Click here to Access the new standards and supporting resources on the ACSQHC website.

New electronic National Residential Medication Chart resources

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed two resources; one to support residential care providers with the planning, procurement and safe implementation of eNRMC systems, and another to support software vendors optimise the safety and quality features of their eNRMC systems.

Click here to DOWNLOAD THE NEW RESOURCES


Does your organisation have a rural or remote health vacancy? To advertise here please complete the Advertising Listing Form and submit to sarrah@sarrah.org.au.

Speech Pathologist - Alice Springs
The Children’s Development Team in Alice Springs is seeking an enthusiastic paediatric Speech Pathologist to join our friendly and supportive multidisciplinary team. This role is an opportunity to develop your clinical skills and see a unique part of Australia, all whilst making a difference to the lives of children living in Central Australia. The position is based in Alice Springs, and includes some travel to remote communities to deliver outreach services. Read more here 


Rehabilitation Consultants - Darwin, Dubbo and Bathurst
Recovre is looking for talented and motivated allied health professionals including Occupational Therapists, Exercise Physiologist, or Physiotherapists to join their vibrant teams in Darwin, Dubbo and Bathurst. Read more here


Social Worker Level 3 - Child Protection John Hunter Children's Hospital
As a Violence, Abuse and Neglect (VAN) Child Protection Team Social Worker Level 3, you will join a supportive multidisciplinary team at John Hunter Children’s Hospital providing complex psychosocial assessment, coordination of child protection paediatric clinics as well as support and consultation related to child protection practice. You will be supported and encouraged to develop and apply creative strategies and solutions to complex patient presentations in the acute and community setting. Read more here


Senior Clinician - Child Protection Counselling Service - Wallsend Campus
As the Senior Clinician, you will provide Clinical and Line Management Leadership to the non-acute Community Based services of Violence Abuse and Neglect (VAN) Hunter including the Newcastle Child Protection Counselling Service (CPCS) and the Aboriginal Family Wellbeing Health Worker (AFWHW) as well as the VAN Hunter Administrative Officer. You will provide and lead the team in providing specialised, child-centred trauma-informed clinical care to children, young people and their parents and / or carers who have experienced violence, abuse and / or neglect including experiences of domestic and family violence (DFV). Read more here


Occupational Therapist - Alice Springs Hospital
The NTPS values diversity and aims for a workforce that represents the community. The NTPS encourages people from all diversity groups to apply for vacancies and accommodates people with disability by making reasonable workplace adjustments. If you require an adjustment for the recruitment process or job, please discuss this with the contact officer. Read more here 


Early Career Occupational Therapist: Rural Generalist Program -  Various locations across the New England-North West
This is an excellent opportunity to be part of the Hunter New England’s Local health District (HNELHD) Allied Health Rural Generalist Program. The program aims to provide early career allied health professionals with the experience of living and working in rural areas, while developing the skills to cope with rural practice – in a sole position if necessary. Clinicians will rotate through 8 different placements during the 2 year program- across different locations covering acute, community, adult, paediatric, mental health, rehabilitation and Indigenous health placements. Read more here


Speech Pathologist Level 3 -  Narrabri
This is a Speech Pathologist Level 3 position. However, if there are no appropriate Level 3 applicants, applications from Level 1 and 2 will be considered. The selection criteria reflects the requirements for a Level 3 applicant. Responses from Level 1 or 2 applicants need to demonstrate their level of competence with regard to the same criteria and their ability to work towards Level 3. The expected performance of the incumbent will be commensurate with his/her years of experience and current level at commencement of appointment. The incumbent will work towards meeting the criteria for Level 3. Read more here


Physiotherapist AHP1/AHP2 - Eyre and far North Local Health Network, Port Lincoln
The Physiotherapist (AHP1), with clinical support from the Senior Physiotherapist, is responsible to the Regional Community Health Team Leader for contributing to the delivery of a comprehensive and integrated range of health services, appropriate to the needs of the local community. Read more here


Occupational Therapist - Dundaloo Health Services
Dundaloo Support Services is a highly regarded person-centred disability service provider of meaningful Supported Independent Living, Community Assistance and Disability Day Programs throughout the beautiful Manning Valley and Great Lakes area in the Mid North Coast region of NSW. Read more here


Psychologist or Accredited Clinical Social Worker - Dundaloo Health Services
Dundaloo Support Services is a highly regarded person-centred disability service provider of meaningful Supported Independent Living, Community Assistance and Disability Day Programs throughout the beautiful Manning Valley and Great Lakes area in the Mid North Coast region of NSW. Read more here 


Occupational Therapists - Darwin/Palmerston/Katherine/Nhulunbuy
Deliver high quality, culturally appropriate and effective Occupational Therapy inpatient and outpatient services within Top End Health Service (TEHS). Several ongoing, fixed term, part time and casual positions available at various locations. Selection will be made at the P1 or P2 level depending on the qualifications and experience of the successful applicant. 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


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
.
 

Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium - Online 
3-5&8 November 2021
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
IHPA Innovation and Collaboration - Activity based funding for sustainability in health care
4-6 May 2022 - Hybrid event
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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