A two-year education program announced by the Morrison Government will create incentives for allied health professionals to work in regional areas and better equip them with the skills needed for rural practice.
The $3.2 million Morrison Government investment will enable 20 level one scholarships valued at $10,000 and 20 level two scholarships valued at $28,000 to be offered initially at James Cook University, with more universities expected to join.
Funding is also available to help employers cover back-filling positions and provide travel and accommodation for students to attend training.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the Allied Health Rural Generalist Workforce and Education Scheme would drive improvements in allied health recruitment and retention rates in the regions and provide professional development opportunities for allied health professionals.
He said allied health professionals in regional areas needed a wide-ranging skillset to deal with the diverse range of patients that walked through the door.
“Making sure allied health professionals working in rural and remote communities have access to training is a priority of the Morrison Government,” Mr Entsch said.
“Allied health professionals are university trained specialists who play a major role in preventing, diagnosing and treating illness and injury and often work closely with their health professional colleagues, including doctors and nurses.
“A physiotherapist in a city clinic might specialise, for example, in sport or pregnancy, whereas a physio in a regional area probably needs to be able to assist all types of patients, including children and the aged.
“The program will boost the capability of graduates or those already working in the field, by teaching them skills on how to manage and where to find more support for complex patients, how to consult via telehealth and how they can access additional services for patients who may need it.”