New program upskills allied health professionals for regional work
A two-year education program to be run by James Cook University will create incentives for allied health professionals to work in regional areas and better equip them with the skills needed for rural practice.
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said the Liberal and National Government’s Allied Health Rural Generalist Workforce and Education Scheme would drive improvements in allied health recruitment and retention rates in the regions and provide professional development opportunities for allied health professionals.
“Allied health professionals are university trained specialists who play a major role in preventing, diagnosing and treating illness and injury and often work closely with their health professional colleagues, including doctors and nurses,” Mr Thompson said.
He said allied health professionals in regional areas needed a wide-ranging skillset to deal with the diverse range of patients that walked through the door.
“A physiotherapist in a city clinic might specialise, for example, in sport or pregnancy, whereas a physio in a regional area probably needs to be able to assist all types of patients, including children and the aged and frail,” he said.
“The program will boost the capability of graduates or those already working in the field, by teaching them skills on how to manage and where to find more support for complex patients, how to consult via telehealth and how they can access additional services for patients who may need it.”
The $3.2 million Liberal and National Government investment will enable 20 level one scholarships valued at $10,000, and 20 level two scholarships valued at $28,000, to be offered initially at James Cook University, with more universities expected to join.
Funding is also available to help employers cover back-filling positions and provide travel and accommodation for students to attend training.