Reshaping the allied health workforce mix- What should it look like and what is the value?

Ms Anne Maree Buttner1, Mrs Lisa Boustead1

1Mater Group, South Brisbane , Australia

Over a three year period, the Allied Health workforce mix at Mater Health has been reshaped for a sustainable service into the future. This presentation will outline the methodology, outcomes achieved, learning’s from the initiative as well as raising further questions regarding what is the ideal Allied Health workforce profile to achieve financial sustainability whilst supporting value based healthcare.


Following the evaluation of Allied Health job levels in Queensland in 2007, the proportion of Allied Health professionals at advance levels significantly increased. By 2014, Mater’s workforce profile included greater than 50% of staff at advanced levels. In light of financial pressures, the increasing cost and demand for health services and the predicted shrinking of the working population, it was recognised that the Allied Health workforce profile at Mater needed to change.


A literature review, environmental scan and analysis of current tasks undertaken by Mater’s Allied Health staff indicated the need for greater utilisation of assistant roles in scope and number, while also expanding the scope of Allied Health professionals. A new Allied Health workforce profile including a target to increase the assistant workforce to 20%was endorsed following staff consultation.   Roles have subsequently been redesigned and strategies implemented including staff education, competency development and delegation frameworks to achieve the workforce profile.

Significant change towards the desired workforce profile has been achieved and an evaluation of its value undertaken. Barriers encountered to achieving the workforce profile will also be discussed. The initiative raises further questions regarding the ideal workforce profile into the future taking into account the factors above as well as emerging trends in acute models of care.


Anne Maree Buttner has been a Director of Allied Health Services for more than 20 years working in two acute health care organisations, one in the public sector, the other a private not for profit organisation delivering both private and public services. She has also held roles as Director of Corporate Services and Director of Strategic and Master Planning within public health organisations.

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