Strategies for increasing allied health recruitment and retention in rural Australia – a rapid review

Ms Rebecca Heron-dowling1, Mr Hassan Kadous1, Ms Cath Maloney2

1NSW Ministry Of Health, North Sydney, Australia; 2Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH)

In 2018, NSW Health commissioned a consultancy to write a rapid review outlining effective and ineffective strategies for increasing the efficacy of allied health recruitment and retention in Australia. Although there is considerable research identifying factors that influence allied health recruitment and retention in rural areas, there is limited quality evidence to demonstrate the impact of recruitment and retention interventions on workforce outcomes.

The rapid review synthesises a balance of Australian and international research, grey literature and industry knowledge to inform a NSW Health led, multiagency allied health rural and remote workforce summit in 2019.

The strongest evidence for recruitment and retention for Allied Health Professionals to rural and remote practice relate to rural background, curriculum that reflects rural health issues, quality rural placements. One of the strongest lines of emerging evidence is the ‘Rural Pipeline’ – recruitment of students from rural backgrounds, delivery of regional training, exposure during training to rural curriculum and placements, and developing regional postgraduate training opportunities.

Factors that influence retention are broadly categorised as professional and organisational, social (family and personal), and financial which are modifiable to varying extents, and non-modifiable factors such as location and community amenity.

Areas for innovation have been identified throughout the report and will be explored at a NSW Health led, multiagency allied health rural and remote workforce summit.


Biography: 

Cath Maloney is the A/Chief Executive Officer of Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH)

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