The 2021 theme of Allied Health Professions Day (14 October) stronger together reflects the approach the University of Tasmania is taking, working with Tasmanian communities and allied health professionals to help support Tasmania's health workforce.
Allied health professionals have been working on the frontline in hospitals in Australia’s response to COVID-19 and adapting to new methods of service delivery in primary care.
From the ICU to community-based rehabilitation, allied health professionals have an important role to play in physical and mental recovery for COVID-19 survivors.
“Allied health services are the backbone to our health system,” Kendra Strong, Chief Allied Health Advisor, Department of Health, said.
“The sector’s services – ranging from physiotherapy to speech pathology - often alleviates the need for medical intervention, or compliments a course of treatment, benefiting both Tasmanians and the State’s health system.”
The University of Tasmania is developing an expanded range of allied health courses to help support the allied health workforce needs and local communities across the State.
"This is only possible through the commitment of the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Tasmania’s allied health sector to support the increase in allied health education and training programs across the State," Head of the School of Health Sciences Professor Nuala Byrne said.
“The allied health workforce is integral to Tasmania’s health, education, disability and aged care services.
“There has been a limited number of allied health education and training programs in the State, offering either entry-to-practice pathways or further development opportunities for current practitioners.
“By working together to create new allied health programs that are specifically designed to respond to Tasmania’s needs we will contribute to public health improvements. This needed to be addressed as Tasmania faces significant health challenges with an ageing population, high rates of chronic conditions and increasing multi-morbidity driving demand on the State’s health system.
“We’ve seen increasing demand for allied health services across the state and difficulties with the recruitment and retention of staff. Developing a local workforce who can respond to regional and rural needs is essential for Tasmania.” Paula Hyland, Executive Director Allied Health – Tasmanian Health Service, said.
Professor Byrne said it is very exciting to provide new study opportunities for Tasmanians.
“We are extremely grateful to industry and key stakeholders who have, and continue to, provide expertise and input into the Allied Health Expansion Program.”