Accreditation of rural generalist education programs for the allied health professions

Ms Kylie Woolcock1, Ms Katharine Silk1, Ms Ilsa Nielsen2, Ms Julie Hulcombe3

1Australian Healthcare And Hospitals Association, Deakin West, Australia, 2Department of Health, Queensland Health, Cairns, Australia, 3Department of Health, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia


Introduction:Rural generalist training positions supporting post-professional entry development of allied health professionals are being implemented across Australia to address workforce and service sustainability challenges. A robust benchmark for education programs is required to ensure rural generalist trainees possess the skills and capabilities required by rural and remote health services and communities.


  • Develop accreditation standards for formal education programs in rural generalist practice for nutrition & dietetics, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy podiatry, medical imaging and speech pathology
  • Develop recommendations, a plan and resources to support the formation of an accreditation body and process.

Methods: The project includes:

  • a comprehensive environmental scan of accreditation systems and standards,
  • consultation with stakeholders on the rural generalist concept and the rationale and value of an accreditation system for rural generalist education programs, and
  • drafting, national consultation and finalisation of project deliverables.

Outcomes and conclusion

The environmental scan identified relevant examples of education program accreditation systems and standards. These influenced or were integrated into draft project deliverables. The competency framework provides inter-professional and profession-specific statements of capability supporting and facilitating rural generalist professional practice and development. Draft standards align with those used by a range of allied health professions. A roadmap to establish a new independent body to manage the standards was developed. Outputs will be finalised by July 2018.


Kylie has a strong interest and diverse background in areas associated with health workforce reform, including competence and competency standards; credentialing for extended scopes of practice; recognition of advanced practice; policy development for regulation and/or funding of services; accreditation of higher education providers; assessment of overseas trained practitioners; development of support staff; education and continuing professional development.
While a registered pharmacist herself, she works with a broad range of health professions, facilitating cross profession activity to increase collaboration and innovation, optimise patient outcomes, maximise efficiencies and achieve a sustainable health system.