AMA Submission supports efforts to improve rural allied health workforce

15 Aug 2019

The AMA has made a submission to the National Rural Health Commissioner providing feedback on a discussion paper detailing options to increase the rural allied health workforce. The AMA’s submission was supportive of the intention of the paper, but noted the importance of maintaining the centrality of GP care and warned against fragmenting care.

The discussion paper listed a number of proposals which were built around the pillars of:

  • increased rural origin participation in the allied health workforce;
  • increased high quality training in rural communities; and
  • increased sustainability and viability of allied health jobs in rural Australia.

The AMA’s submission outlined broad support for many of the suggestions, including more rural origin students, increasing training opportunities, and improved access to telehealth, but noted that many of the issues raised stem from the underfunding of state/territory-based programs. New sources of funding are required, not a redistribution of existing funds.

The submission also made the point that new or additional items under the Medicare Benefits Schedule are not appropriate to address the issues and that the goal should be providing coordinated, GP-led care.

You can read the submission here.