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Allied Health in Primary Care Engagement Framework

A new framework developed to strengthen engagement between the Primary Health Networks and the Allied Health sector has been launched by the National PHN Cooperative. The National PHN Allied Health in Primary Care Engagement Framework (The Framework) will serve as a roadmap for increased and collaborative ways of working.

Allied Health Peak Bodies and practitioners, State/Territory and Federal government and PHNs have all played a crucial role in shaping the development of the Framework over the past year. This input has been invaluable in informing future engagement strategies to support allied health contributions to consumer and community outcomes.




The Vision for Change

This Framework has been developed with the intention of strengthening engagement between PHNs and the Allied Health sector, serving as a roadmap for increased and collaborative ways of working.

There is an opportunity for PHNs to play a key role in supporting the Allied Health sector as an important part of an integrated health system. This includes having an increased focus towards wellbeing and prevention within the health system. The newly adopted Australia's Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan 2022-2032 provides the potential for a wider dialogue between PHNs and the Allied Health sector in these areas.

The Framework was developed to harness the opportunity, and in response to increased engagement with the Allied Health sector that arose during COVID-19 when the need for engagement guidelines became evident. In the context of unprecedented workforce challenges, this Framework offers a key opportunity to work together to optimise utilisations of the existing workforce.

The Purpose

The purpose of the Framework is to set out a roadmap to encourage a consistent approach to support efficient and effective primary healthcare Allied Health service delivery to communities, define roles and approaches for engaging with the Allied Health sector, and drive change to increase collaboration between the Allied Health sector and PHNs.

The Framework provides a description of the intentions behind the development of the Framework, the core recommendations underpinning it, roles of PHNs in supporting Allied Health and six key priority areas.

The six identified key priority areas for increasing collaboration between PHNs and the Allied Health sector include:

  1. Nationally-led collaboration
  2. Governance and culture
  3. Practice engagement
  4. Data quality, and digital maturity
  5. Workforce and access to allied health care
  6. Integration, models of care and funding

The Framework is designed primarily for use by PHNs, with implementation at PHN level to be guided by the Allied Health sector and other stakeholders. It is intended to support an ongoing process of strengthening PHN engagement with the Allied Health sector.

The Framework was developed following broad stakeholder engagement through focus groups, roundtable discussions and a survey between March – June 2022.

Next steps?

Developed under the National PHN Cooperative, the vision for the Framework is for it to be implemented across all 31 PHNs to encourage a consistent approach to working with the Allied Health sector.

A key element to successful implementation involves instigating discussions with the Allied Health sector to determine shared collaborative leadership.

Since finalising the Framework, the nine PHNs on the Steering Group (PHN Implementation Framework Group) along with support from the three peak Allied Health bodies, AHPA, IAHA and SARRAH and the Chief Allied Health Office have had a focus developing a National Allied Health Practice Support toolkit, which is one of the of the recommendations from the Framework. The toolkit development will occur in 2024 with the aim to support capability development for Allied Health Professionals. It is likely to include information on business skills, funding mechanisms, orientation to local needs and requirements and integration into primary care and referral system.


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