Strengthening the allied health workforce: Australian Health Review special issue

Monday, June 22, 2015

With increasing demands being placed on the health system from patients with complex and chronic diseases, there has been renewed interest in strengthening the allied health workforce. This is the focus of the latest edition of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s (AHHA) peer‑reviewed journal, the Australian Health Review.

In this special issue of the Australian Health Review a number of perspectives are presented on the nexus between allied health workforce policy, practice and research, contributing to an evidence base to inform future allied health workforce innovation.

“With growing demand on our healthcare system, the allied health workforce has an important role in easing this pressure,” said Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the AHHA.

“However, there is a need for clarity about the role and scope of practice of allied health professionals to ensure appropriate referral practices and to avoid service duplication,” said Ms Verhoeven.

Articles in this special issue examine the unrealised potential of the allied health workforce and their role in leading health reform through active engagement with research activities, in addition to the potential to expand scope of practice and the challenges associated with these advanced and extended roles.

Also considered is the need for increased clinical placement opportunities for students currently undertaking study in an allied health discipline, noting this is a barrier to entry into professional practice.

The role of allied health assistants is examined, including the extent to which they are empowered to realise their full potential. Findings are also presented from surveys of the patient experience on being treated by physiotherapists, and on job satisfaction within the allied health workforce.

“While there are many issues to be addressed to fully harness the potential of the allied health workforce, there is much good work currently being done to inform future policy and practices. Allied health professionals can contribute to addressing many of the challenges facing the health system by being included in the reform process,” said Ms Verhoeven.

To view the Australian Health Review and gain access to a selection of open access articles from this special edition, visit

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, community and primary healthcare services, and advocates for universal, high quality and affordable healthcare to benefit the whole community.

Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501