Liza-Jane McBride1, Belinda Gavaghan2
1 Allied Health Professions’ Office Queensland, PO Box 2368, QLD, 4006, firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Allied Health Professions’ Office Queensland, PO Box 2368, QLD, 4006, email@example.com
Allied health expanded scope of practice initiatives have been shown to improve the delivery of timely, effective and high value health services for Queensland communities. In order to measure the implementation of recommendations from the 2014 Ministerial Taskforce on health practitioner expanded scope of practice, key performance indicators were identified and statewide questionnaires distributed annually for three years.
A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to Directors of Allied Health across all Queensland Hospital and Health Services in June 2014 (baseline), 2015 and 2016. Directors were asked to measure expanded scope activity, including undertaking primary contact roles, prescribing and administering scheduled medicines, ordering diagnostic investigations and undertaking new procedures. The survey also explored Directors perceptions of the enablers and challenges of implementing and sustaining allied health expanded scope roles. Survey findings were compared to baseline results.
Preliminary findings indicate that while the number of allied health professionals working in primary contact roles and undertaking new procedures has increased since the implementation of Taskforce recommendations, the percentage of the workforce engaged in these roles remains small. Barriers to expanded scope roles were consistent with baseline findings and include legislation and accreditation standards, funding restrictions, workforce training models and health service culture.
While there has been a slight increase in expanded scope roles across the state, implementation has been slow and inconsistent and the number of professions remains small. A number of real and perceived barriers continue to inhibit workforce reform. The findings from this survey will be used to prioritise funding and guide the implementation of initiatives to embed expanded scope of practice for allied health professionals.
Liza-Jane McBride is a team leader with the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, with statewide responsibility for allied health clinical education. Liza-Jane has significant experience working in a variety of healthcare settings in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is a registered physiotherapist.