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In October 2020, allied health service providers and funders and education providers in south west Queensland came together to discuss challenges and opportunities for workforce sustainability in the region.
Out of these collaborative discussions, support for the scoping project in the education and training pathway action area was confirmed. Local health service providers and funders, and education providers participated in a five-month, Inter-agency Allied Health Workforce Strategy Scoping Project for south west Queensland in 2021. The approach for the project was based on a model originally developed in north west Queensland which is now in the Implementation Phase (see here for more information).
The project was conducted over 22 weeks (1 February 2021 to 30 June 2021) and was co-funded by Health Workforce Queensland and the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland. In-kind resourcing was provided by project partners, in particular Southern Queensland Rural Health, in terms of the allocation of staff time to meetings, consultations and review of project documents.
The project aim was to work with key stakeholders to develop a strategy that supported an inter-agency, collaborative, regional approach to allied health workforce development including recruitment, retention and capacity building, in health services in south west Queensland. The focus of the project was the education and training pathway action area; one of four action areas identified by South West Allied Health Workforce Collaborative members.
The rationale for the project included:
Reported difficulties with allied health professional recruitment and retention;
Challenges implementing sustainable integrated training in small multi-professional teams; and
Supporting clinical governance and facilitated upskilling in profession-specific generalist practice across the career stages of the allied health workforce.
The strategy was structured to provide consistent, high quality professional support and training in relevant rural generalist skills that was sufficiently flexible, inclusive and responsive to local need.
Adopting a dual focus enabled the development of clinical and practice training for early career allied health professionals and the contextualisation of learning for allied health professionals in the established / mid-career phase.
An inter-agency approach that maximised participation of local health service providers in collaborative workforce and service development strategies and projects was also identified as a key component.
The dispersed services and varied allied health professionals’ experience levels suggested that coordination of a series of time-limited, project-based, inter-agency learning sets supporting both workforce and service development may be appropriate.
Importantly, an overarching, inter-agency governance / implementation group would support the strategy implementation.
Recommendations, outcomes and next steps information for project partners have been developed and can be found in the project report in the links below:
For further information on the project, please contact Sarah Venn, Executive Manager, Health Workforce and Service Planning.