Capability and Competence to identify and respond to eating disorders

Ms Hilary Smith1, Ms Eliza Charlett

1National Eating Disorders Collaboration, Glen Iris, Australia


The National Eating Disorders Collaboration has developed a competency framework for safe and effective identification and response to eating disorders. This trans-disciplinary tool articulates the skills and knowledge requirements for practitioners at any point in the eating disorders continuum of care, from first responder through to inpatient services and recovery support.
This presentation will outline the competency framework with specific reference to the rural and remote allied health workforce and the unique needs of their clients. This will include exploration of the different roles that practitioners may be required to play within a multi-disciplinary team. Tools to support practice and avenues for further professional development and support will be discussed.
Eating disorders are serious, complex, diverse and treatable mental illnesses which affect 1 million Australians, from urban centres to the most remote parts of the country. In regional and remote Australia, people with eating disorders and their families can struggle to access services with the right level of capability in eating disorder management. This is not limited to acute settings.
Early identification and intervention in cases of suspected eating disorders can save lives. Despite this, the average wait between onset of illness and first attempt to seek help for an eating disorder is 7 to 10 years. Delayed help seeking can lead to significant and lasting mental and physical health complications. Improved skills across the health workforce in recognising warning signs and intervening at the earliest opportunity is a critical current workforce development need.


Eliza Charlett is the Manager of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC), and has extensive experience in building the capacity of professional networks and communities to identify and respond to eating disorders.

Hilary Smith is the NEDC Workforce Development Coordinator. Her role is focused on introducing specific competencies for safe and effective responses to eating disorders in health and other workforces across the country.

Don’t mind my pyjamas – Can I borrow your toothbush?

Ms Kate Pollard1, Ms  Michelle Antoine1, Ms Lucy Seiler1, Ms Ashleigh O’Loughlin1, Ms Emma Brady1, Ms Rebecca McGrath1

1Office Of Disability, Top End Remote, Katherine, Australia


How much time do you spend with your colleagues? For us this may be spending 5 days together driving, sleeping, eating and working in close proximity whilst hundreds of kilometres from home with limited phone reception. The Katherine based Office of Disability, Top End Remote team spend a whopping number of days out of every year travelling thousands of kilometres either individually, in pairs or small groups to provide allied health services to some of the most remote communities in Australia and thus some of the most disadvantaged peoples.

Desirable criteria for recruitment includes; a love of carpool karaoke, the ability to pack lightly, a manual car license, knowledge of tyre changing, a prescription for travel calm and an eye for equipment tetris. But most importantly – the ability to spend long periods living in your co-workers’ pocket.

This poster is a pictorial representation of the comradery of the Katherine Top End team. You will get a taste of our remote adventures by road, boat, air and foot while we battle wet season rains and flooding, cyclones, rough-as-guts roads and Territory wildlife in order to deliver allied health services to the furthest outposts of the Katherine region.


The Katherine Top End Remote team provide allied health services to remote communities and the township of Katherine.

Evaluation of an Early Career Support Cluster

Daniel  Baker2, Dr Susan Waller1, , Amanda Alton3, Jane  O’Shanessy4

1Monash University Department Of Rural Health, Newborough, Australia, 2Bass Coast Health, Wonthaggi, Australia, 3Latrobe Regional Hospital, Traralgon, Australia, 4Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Bairnsdale, Australia


Background:In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria) awarded four grants to set up support cluster groups for early career allied health practitioners (ECAHP) in Gippsland Health Services. The aims of the groups were to support the transition of persons working in allied health from student to worker. The support clusters offered interdisciplinary professional and social support for ECAHP in various ways including education, discussion forums and resources in addition to existing general organisational orientation and discipline specific support.

Method:This was a mixed method study. ECAHP were invited to complete a short electronic survey regarding their understanding and experience of support for transition to work and participation in the cluster. Allied health managers and allied health peers participated in semi-structured interviews to explore their support for and experiences of resources related to transition to work for early career allied health staff. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed by the research team.

Results:Eighteen ECAHPs completed the survey and expressed satisfaction with the cluster support. Professional development was main outcome with participants also appreciating the interprofessional inaction of the forum. Three themes arose from the twenty interviews with allied health managers and staff, supervision, socialisation and support, a triple S framework. Activities and resources discussed in this framework will be presented.

Conclusion:For successful and supportive transition to work, early career allied health staff require a comprehensive and supportive framework as emerged from the evaluation. Sustainability of early career support requires dedicated staff and resourcing.


Daniel works as an allied health clinical educator at three health services in South Gippsland, Victoria, and has facilitated the South Gippsland Early Career Support Cluster since 2015. Prior to this role, Daniel has held a clinical role as a podiatrist in rural Victoria for 8 years, and has completed further studies in Public Health.

Changing the way we do things: generalist allied health assistant roles in rural Central Queensland

Miss Kerri-Anne  Von Deest1

1Queensland Health , Biloela , Australia


Allied health in the rural Central Queensland health service of Banana had a history of extensive periods of vacant positions with inability to recruit and retain staff. The community had high expectations of the allied health workforce in the delivery of services.

We had to change the way we were doing business. Through the successful application for rural revitalisation funding we were able to recruit to three interprofessional allied health assistant positions. Utlising the Calderdale Framework and creating a range of generalist specific resources, a delegation model of care was developed.

The implementation of this generalist allied health assistant delegation model of care has facilitated the following deliverables: significant increases in occasions of service in outreach facilities, prioritisation demands met by all professions, sub acute episodes of care able to be delivered in outreach sites, reduced travel time for clinicians and patients and increased communications between rural facilities. At the forefront and of most importance, closer to home care for clients living rurally is now achievable, sustainable and efficient.

Delivering high quality health care requires the right person at the right time in the right place. However, first you need to have a “person.” Through innovative models of care and utlisation of all staff to full scope, staff satisfaction can be improved which leads to better client outcomes and overall improved community perception of services. This presentation will explore our journey of change in order to successfully implement and sustain a generalist allied health assistant workforce and model of care.


Kerri-Anne Von Deest is a senior Occupational Therapist based at the Biloela Hospital in Central Queensland. Kerri-Anne has worked in Central Queensland for the past 5 years. She has a passion for rural and remote health and supporting implementation of new innovative models of care and service delivery.

The what and where of workforce gaps: perspectives from rural/remote QLD practitioners and managers

Mr David Wellman1, Ms Sarah Venn1, Mr Dean Selby1

1Health Workforce Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


Aims:There are currently no acknowledged yardsticks to measure whether rural communities have sufficient primary care workforce or the right balance of disciplines. Most gap analyses use population health data and workforce numbers. The aim of this study was to investigate primary care provider/manager perceptions of local allied health workforce gaps across rural and remote Qld as part of a larger health workforce needs assessment.

Method:An online survey was completed by 495 practitioners and managers in QLD from ASGC Remoteness Areas (RA) 2-5. There were 10 statements: ‘There is a serious gap in the XXX workforce in my community’. Ten allied health disciplines were investigated and participants asked to rate their level of agreement (‘0 = Strongly disagree’, to ‘100 = Strongly agree’).

Results:Mean workforce gap agreement ratings overall ranged from Optometry M = 30.45, to Social work M = 50.27. Workforce gap means tended to increase with remoteness. The largest increase was for Audiology (RA2 M = 31.50; RA5 M = 69.30). Social work had the highest workforce gap mean in RA2 (M = 49.68) and RA3 (M = 48.30), psychology the highest in RA4 (M = 65.00) and RA5 (M = 71.33). Regional differences were found.

Discussion:This was one of the first studies to gauge health practitioner and manager perspectives concerning what allied health workforce discipline gaps existed within their community. The study provided unique insights into the relationship between remoteness, location and perceptions of practitioners/managers regarding local allied health workforce gaps.


David has been actively involved in public health research since 2001 and has authorship of papers covering a wide variety of community health topics from improving community health and wellbeing in a low SES area to sexuality for people with dementia. Much of the David’s research output has a focus on psychosocial aspects of care for people living in the community. Since joining Health Workforce Queensland, in 2014, the main focus of his output has been on investigating recruitment and retention of health workforce professionals to remote and rural locations. David also seeks to identify emerging issues impacting the primary health care workforce in rural and remote Qld communities.

Changing service models to fit our landscape: a rural allied health assistant model

Mrs Lisa Baker1

1Rural Allied & Community Health, Wide Bay HHS, Queensland Health, Gayndah, Australia


The Wide Bay HHS has seven rural hospital and Multipurpose Health Services each serviced by an outreach allied health team. The allied health team, like many others in rural areas, was challenged by distance, workforce factors, small community size and how best to meet local needs. This challenge was addressed by implementing a model with allied health assistants based at each of the seven rural locations.

In 2014 the allied health assistant roles were commenced. Various new clinics and models of care were introduced including telehealth and group clinics, inpatient, outpatient and residential care programs. Governance and safety were built into the model, including strategies such as multimodal orientation, clinical supervision, peer support and ongoing training programs.

The use of telehealth and allied health assistants allowed greater accessibility for rural clients to allied health services and afforded some additional benefits to clients. Benefits were also noted at an individual, team and community level.

The benefits of an allied health assistant workforce are now well recognized. This presentation will cover practical aspects of how to make this model of care work in rural locations where the allied health professionals are not based on site with assistants. Adaptations to service delivery, tips on allied health assistant training and recommendations are discussed in the presentation.


Lisa is the Rural Allied and Community Health team leader with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, based at Gayndah Community Health in Queensland. Lisa is a speech pathologist with a masters in remote health management and has been actively involved in rural speech pathology and allied health service provision since 2002.

Investing in our rural workforce: transforming the support provided to early graduate Physiotherapists

Mrs Robyn Gill1,2, Mrs Bronya Wingrove1, Mrs Joanne Lawson1

1Country Health SA Local Health Network, , Australia, 2Flinders University of SA, Bedford Park, Australia


Retention of rural Allied Health Professionals (AHP) is a recognised challenge for health care organisations across Australia. Specifically, how do we retain our early graduates in our rural workforce?

Previous studies have considered the ideal factors for providing support for AHP early graduates in rural practice. Emerging strongly as one of the main elements for early graduate’s decision to remain working in rural communities is support from their employing organisation. This includes access to mentoring and support networks, opportunities for professional development, and gaining a broader understanding of rural practice. Having opportunities to allow a supported transition to professional practice is deemed critical for retention of rural AHP early graduates.

This presentation describes and discusses an early graduate support program aimed to enhance retention of Physiotherapists working within regional South Australia. The program is led by Senior Physiotherapists within Country Health SA Local Health Network (CHSALHN).

The main aims of the program are to provide regular, discipline specific, time protected support during the first year of work. This is achieved by establishing a network for Physiotherapy graduates and providing a regular forum for discussion and reflection of early experiences of professional practice. The mode of delivery is monthly teleconferences, with supplementary resources and contact, over the first year of working within CHSALHN.

The Physiotherapists involved in the early graduate support program during 2017 were surveyed to provide feedback about the program. Feedback was positive and warrants ongoing development, expansion and continued provision of the CHSALHN Physiotherapy early graduate support program.


Robyn is a Senior Clinical Educator in Physiotherapy for Country Health South Australia Local Health Network (CHSALHN), building placement capacity and supporting Physiotherapy clinical placements within CHSALHN. Her role encompasses providing professional development opportunities and early graduate support for Physiotherapists working for CHSALHN.
Robyn has been an educator of Physiotherapy students for over 25 years.
Areas of interest are Rural/ Remote Health; Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy; Physiotherapy education; Clinical Simulation; blended learning.


Allied health assistant led post-acute telehealth clinics for remote communities

Mrs Clare Herring1, Mrs Amanda O’Keefe1

1Allied Health Department, Royal Darwin Hospital, Tiwi,, Australia


A number of post-acute allied health outpatient services are available to support the specialist outpatient clinics in the acute hospital setting.  Currently, allied health outpatients are only accessible to patients who can attend the acute facility.  Thus minimal specialist allied health support is available for remote based patients.  Evidence suggests telehealth is a suitable model to provide post-acute allied health services to patients living in remote communities.


  1. Establish post-acute allied health telehealth clinics with remote community health centres.
  1. Develop relationships between the acute allied health team and relevant key stakeholders.
  1. Provide education to remote health staff on the role of allied health professionals in specialised areas of post-acute care.

Post-acute allied health telehealth services are provided by Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology, Dietetics, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Podiatry and Social Work.  The clinics are coordinated by an Allied Health Assistant.  Each discipline has a defined scope of practice for telehealth in addition to existing services and identified gaps.

Since May 2016, collected data indicates an increase in the use of telehealth by acute allied health staff.  Results outline benefits of the clinic, patient attitudes and opinions of acute and remote staff.  The specific skill set and advantages of using an Allied Health Assistant are explored also.

The clinic plans to further promote its benefits, increase appointment numbers and contribute to the improvement of patient health outcomes through deliverance of high quality specialist allied health care closer to home.

Clare Herring is an Allied Health Assistant and has worked at Royal Darwin Hospital in the Northern Territory for over 2 years. She holds Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance and is Speech Pathology Assistant and Telehealth Coordinator to Allied Health. Clare is passionate about Speech Pathology with special interests in paediatric feeding difficulties and speech and language therapy.

Amanda O’Keefe is the Manager of Speech Pathology and Audiology at Royal Darwin Hospital. She developed the Allied Health Telehealth Program for Royal Darwin Hospital and is interested in utilising a variety of service models to obtain optimal patient outcome.

Delegating to Allied Health Assistants – how can education of our health professionals impact outcomes in delegation models of care

Mrs Melody Shepherd1

1Allied Health Education Team, Cunningham Centre Queensland Health, Toowoomba, Australia


Melody is an Allied Health Team Leader with the Allied Health Education Team at the Cunningham Centre, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. She has worked as an occupational therapist in regional and rural areas in Queensland, interstate and overseas since 2000.

In recent years Melody has focused on the training and development of the allied health workforce across Queensland through development of training products and workforce redesign projects. Melody has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and is a Calderdale Framework facilitator. She is an active member of the Occupational Therapy profession as a member of the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s Competency Standards Reference Group and Occupational Therapy Australia’s National Professional Practice and Standards Committee.

One of Melody’s key projects has been the development of the first nationally accredited delegation training package available to allied health professionals. The accrediting authority for this training, Delegation in healthcare is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).


Melody is an Allied Health Team Leader with the Allied Health Education Team at the Cunningham Centre, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. She has worked as an occupational therapist in regional and rural areas in Queensland, interstate and overseas since 2000.

In recent years Melody has focused on the training and development of the allied health workforce across Queensland through development of training products and workforce redesign projects. Melody has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and is a Calderdale Framework facilitator. She is an active member of the Occupational Therapy profession as a member of the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s Competency Standards Reference Group and Occupational Therapy Australia’s National Professional Practice and Standards Committee.

One of Melody’s key projects has been the development of the first nationally accredited delegation training package available to allied health professionals. The accrediting authority for this training, Delegation in healthcare is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Rural health workforce training in New Zealand: Help and hindrance to sustainability and high quality care

Miss Jane George1,2, Ms Brittany Jenkins1, Dr Brendan Marshall1,3

1West Coast District Health Board, Greymouth, New Zealand, 2Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, 3University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand


Aim/Objectives: To critically review progress and potential regarding pre and post-entry training strategy, policy, and pathways for the West Coast rural health workforce in terms of contributions to workforce sustainability and high quality care. Findings will inform ongoing research, inter-sectorial policy, collaborative ways of working, and development of alternate evidence-based training models.

Background: The West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand boasts the most rural and remote health district nationally and reflects rural challenges worldwide. The West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB) is the major provider arm for the region’s health services and is committed to growing and developing a sustainable workforce poised to provide fit-for-purpose care within an innovative care model. Despite local strategies, initiatives, and investment, a number of factors continue to influence the ultimate goal of training a sustainable workforce capable of delivering high quality rural care.

Methods: To complete a critical review of relevant peer-reviewed articles and informal publications to determine factors that may ‘help’ and ‘hinder’ the above workforce goal.

Conclusions: While progress has been made with regard to pre and post-entry training programmes for New Zealand’s rural health workforce, a number of barriers appear to continue to hinder progress. Despite national strategy and other initiatives that have helped prioritise development of New Zealand’s rural health workforce, fragmented decision making may be hindering outcomes. A collaborative and comprehensive workplan may be required to ensure sustainability of this fragile workforce, and equal outcomes for people living in New Zealand’s most rural and remote region.


Jane George is a Registered Clinical Social Worker and Associate Director of Allied Health, Scientific and Technical Workforces at the West Coast DHB.  Her Master of Social Welfare examined effective supports for those who frequently attend Emergency Departments and her Doctor of Health Science research will explore the challenges and opportunities for the recruitment and retention of Allied Health staff in rural and remote areas.  Jane is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, and a contributor and reviewer for the Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work journal.

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