Comparative analysis and lessons learned from ten consulting reviews of Allied Health services across Australasia

Ms Janice Mueller1, Dr Rosalie Boyce2, Mr Ian Rowe1

1Waipiata Consulting Ltd, Coromandel Town, New Zealand, 2Rosalie Boyce Consulting Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Australia

Consultancy-led external reviews of allied health typically result in a re-alignment of services, organisation, staffing and strategy.  In this presentation, the results of ten large scale external reviews conducted by the authors are examined for themes and lessons with a view to informing the way allied health services conduct their business across clinical operations, practice development, research infrastructure, staffing, training and development and data systems.

The genesis of external reviews vary, however at their heart is a desire to harvest greater value from allied health. The catalyst for a review is often a realisation that a history of restructuring, or changes in service profiles in other parts of the organisation has provoked a slow erosion of the capacity of allied health to provide an adequate quantum of service. The impetus for a review is often triggered by a chorus of influential non-allied health voices directed at the Chief Executive saying: ‘it’s not good enough’; until a tipping point is reached.

Increasingly, the stimulus is the quest for embedding allied health in primary care-led models of service delivery. Whatever the trigger, there is a typically a desire to  release the human capital and service delivery value in a fiscally constrained environment, while optimising service delivery and evaluating leadership and professional governance models.

While each review is unique, a mixed methods approach is always used. Critical to this process is listening to and respecting the voice of the allied health practitioners themselves and other shareholders. Each review provides an opportunity for their voice, to be central in informing recommendations.

Six principles have been developed to guide the critical analysis of the service(s), and any subsequent recommendations. Common challenges that each allied health review has identified will be discussed; key vulnerabilities in all organisations will be identified as they impact on allied health structures, governance; service provision and practitioners themselves. Finally, some advice will be provided to optimise learning opportunities for each organisation from such a review.


Janice is a Director of Waipiata Consulting Ltd, a specialist health consultancy business providing health management consultancy services. She has extensive experience in governance, leading change management, strategic planning, service reviews, workforce development and professional regulation.

Janice is the current Chair of the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand and has been a board member since 2010. She is a Life Member of Physiotherapy New Zealand and was awarded the ‘International Allied Health Award for Development’ for an outstanding contribution to advancing allied health leadership’ in 2018 by the network of International Chief Health Professions Officers (ICHPO). She is also a member of the InterRAI Governance Board (NZ), chairs the INPTRA Membership Committee and is a member of the HWNZ Allied Health Workforce Advisory Group.

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