Allied Health Rural Generalist Trainee Positions (AHRGTP); a remote Torres Strait Islands / FNQ experience

Ms Marissa  Arnot1, Ms Jane Doepel1, Ms Kiah Petrie1, Ms Betty Mareko1

1Tores And Cape Hospital And Health Service, Thursday Island , Australia


AHPOQ (Allied Health Professional Office of Queensland) fund supernumerary positions for two years to assist rural and remote health services to expand and enhance their service delivery while developing rural generalist skills in early career allied health professionals. In 2017/18 the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service was successful in attracting this funding for two positions to expand the physiotherapy and dietetics services in the northern sector of the HHS which services Thursday Island, the outer islands of the Torres Strait and five mainland communities in the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) of Cape York. Prior to this both services were delivered by sole rural generalist practitioners.

Challenges include:
• both the supervision of the AHRGTP and project management of service redevelopment project are provided by sole health practitioners (HP4) with large caseloads,
• large proportion of service delivered outside of hub site either by outreach or telehealth – both difficult mediums for early career professionals
• management of leave periods.
• high burden of chronic disease and predominately Indigenous population in this community provides challenges along side a rich learning environment to develop rural generalist skills.
Having two AHRGT positions at the same time has provided peer support for both trainees and supervisors alike which has been highlighted as a huge benefit by all involved.
Service delivery redesigns including expanded scope of practice ( skill sharing) and expansions of telehealth services are being undertaken alongside the workforce development of the early career professions and extended roles of senior supervisors.


Marissa Arnot is the senior dietician for the Northern Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service. Marissa has a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, a Graduate Certificate in Remote Health Practice and a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education. Marissa started as an early career professional in the Torres and Cape over 10 years ago and so has lived experience of becoming a rural generalist in a remote context. Marissa remains the sole permanent dietician for the Northern Torres and Cape HHS servicing 25 distinct communities

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