Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, has announced that the Government would establish the Commonwealth’s first Chief Allied Health Officer to support the work of thousands of important health professionals.
“Allied health professionals make up about 20 per cent of the health workforce in Australia, providing vital services to patients and the establishment of a Chief Allied Health Officer will further strengthen and support their work,” said Ms Plibersek.
“They play a key role in patient care, especially for people with chronic and complex conditions, and the services that they provide are becoming increasingly important with an ageing population.
“The Government recognises the work that allied health professionals do and the Chief Allied Health Officer will provide advice on how best to strengthen their role,” said Ms Plibersek.
The establishment of a Chief Allied Health Officer also responds to a recommendation of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, following its inquiry into the factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas.
The committee found that allied health professionals face additional challenges in delivering services to regional, rural and remote Australia.
While the Chief Allied Health Officer will have improving the delivery of allied health services in the bush as a key focus, all Australians will benefit from well integrated medical, nursing and allied health care services.
Medicare Locals also provide important new opportunities for allied health services to be more effective and more accessible in local communities across Australia.
The Minister has congratulated Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA), Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) and Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) on their commitment to advancing allied health care and supporting allied health students and practitioners across Australia.