University of Tasmania

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The Rural Allied Health Workforce Study (RAHWS): profiling the allied health workforce in rural NSW and Tasmania

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 09:30 authored by Keane, S
Background According to the AIHW 2006 "Australia's Health" report, the allied health professions form about 18% of the health workforce in Australia, while medical practitioners comprise 16% and nurses 65% of the workforce. There is a current shift toward more multidisciplinary models of care, with an emphasis on prevention and early hospital discharge. Strategic deployment of the allied health workforce will be needed to address these changes in service delivery. It is well known that there is a national shortage of allied health professionals (DEWR 2004 Skills Shortage List) and that this problem is worse in rural areas (SARRAH 2004). Detailed workforce data are needed to support workforce planning in the allied health professions. While workforce data are robust for rural nurses and medical practitioners (AIHW) these data are not available for workforce planning in the rural allied health professions (AHWAC 2006). This study provided a detailed profile of the rural and regional allied health workforce in NSW and Tasmania. Methods A comprehensive survey was designed in consultation with university and public health stakeholders, and was piloted in a small sample of allied health professionals. The survey included questions on demographics, work settings and attitudes relevant to recruitment and retention of rural allied health practitioners. We recruited subjects through multiple methods in an effort to capture the entire NSW rural and Tasmanian state workforce. On-line survey and hardcopy responses were collected from both public and private sector practitioners across Tasmania and rural NSW. Survey data were analysed using SPSS. Results At the time of presentation, data collection was underway in NSW and had been completed in Tasmania. This paper provides information on the profile of the allied health workforce which will result from the study. It will present preliminary findings related to the Tasmanian allied health workforce settings, professional development, recruitment and retention as examples. This project was funded by the NSW Institute of Rural Clinical Services and Teaching, the University Department of Rural Health, Tasmania and Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services.


Publication title

2008 National SARRAH Conference Proceedings





Place of publication

Conference website

Event title

2008 National SARRAH Conference

Event Venue

Yeppoon, Queensland

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)

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