Developing Australia’s future Allied Health workforce

Lucy Whelan1, Andrea Macaffer1

1Monash Health, , Australia

Background: In 2016, benchmarking across Victoria  indicated a lack of Allied Health Assistant (AHA) specific professional development and networking opportunities and a high level of interest for such opportunities. An Monash Health organisation- wide (150 AHA’s) electronic survey concurred with the statewide results in reference to a lack of these opportunities. 93% of external respondents identified as willing to attend a statewide seminar at Monash Health in 2017.

Aim: To improve access for the Australian AHA workforce to relevant professional development and networking opportunities.

Method: The Monash Health AHA professional development working party was formed to organise four professional development sessions. These were in line with identified AHA learning needs and included AHA day 2017. The inaugural AHA day event was held at Monash Health and consisted of a presentation on professional communication, an update from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Victoria, regional health service updates and various poster presentations. With an overwhelming nationwide response, three hundred participants attended. Demand was greater than capacity for attendance. While feedback was generally very positive, it was noted that AHAs would have preferred a whole day for learning and travel purposes. A second, full day event was organised the following year.

Results: AHA day 2018 was held at Holmesglen in Moorabbin, Victoria for a full day.  The day consisted of the keynote speaker Emma Gee speaking to the patient perspective, a DHHS Victoria update interstate and regional updates.  There was a presentation from the 2017 poster prize winner as well as eight interactive workshops held in the afternoon.  There were poster presentations.  Participants attended from all over Australia. AHA day (2018) participants (82%) reported that they could see career growth opportunities and professional practice scenarios where they could apply what they had learned from the day.  Over 83% of participants also felt that they had a better connection with their workforce as a result of the day.

Discussion/Future plan:  With the progression of the Victorian AHA Network, it is hoped that more of these sessions might be possible. Monash Health AHA Day 2019 is planned for November 13th 2019.


Lucy Whelan is a Physiotherapist by background with a Masters Degree in Public Health and a career spanning over 15 years in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is currently forging the path for the Allied Health Assistant and Support workforce at Monash Health. She is passionate about quality driven improvement and appropriate governance for all. In order to align with their Allied Health colleagues and further expand and grow the roles of Allied Health Assistants, some large pieces of work are underway around Credentialing, Scope of Practice, Clinical Supervision, Professional Development, Referral/Delegation tools, Priority Tools and Students.

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