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THE INAUGURAL RWAV RURAL ALLIED HEALTH FORUM – PRIMARY CARE SOLUTIONS

On the 26 May 2022 the inaugural Rural Allied Health Primary Care Solutions Forum was held by RWAV as an interactive virtual event. With the growing importance of Allied Health services in rural Victoria, and the many challenges faced by both providers and patients, RWAV called for an open discussion to generate and prioritise problems and possible solutions.

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Associate Prof Faye McMillan - Policy Perspectives on Rural Allied Health

Dr Cath Cosgrave - Attract, Connect, Stay Webinar Recording

Dr Monika Jones - What Does the Data Tell Us Webinar Recording

Kate Temby - RWAV's Allied Health Activities and Priorities

PRESENTERS & FACILITATOR

Facilitator: Trevor Carr

Presenters:

Dr. Cath Cosgrave (Founder and Principal Consultant Cath Cosgrave Consulting) – Attract, connect, stay – a whole of community rural health workforce solution

Prof. Faye McMillan (Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner – Allied Health and Indigenous Health) – Policy perspectives on Rural Health

Kate Temby (Senior Manager of Health Workforce Development) – Brief update on the support RWAV provides and our commitment to Allied Health as a priority

Dr. Monika Jones (Manager of the Health Workforce Planning and Reporting) – What does the data tell us about allied health need and distribution? 

ATTENDEES

The forum was promoted on the RWAV website, RWAV social media, through email footers and through partner organisations’ newsletters (e.g. SARRAH and Australian Pharmacy Council).

The forum received 55 registrants and 33 attendees.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

The forum featured approx. 1 hour of discussion, where participants were split into two breakout rooms. The questions asked were:

  • What are the solutions that have worked in your area? Are there new or innovative approaches that you have tried to address your current workforce shortages, or unmet demand for services?
  • Where are the opportunities in your backyard? Can you identify what could be achieved if you had some extra…, what would make a real difference to you/your business?
  • Opportunity for participant input into RWAV AH priorities going forward? What do you think RWAV should be advocating for? Is it workforce, relocation, retention, services, funding etc?

DISCUSSION RESPONSES – THEMES

The discussion was documented through an interactive Miro board, and several themes emerged across the suggestions given by participants:

Support more networking, connection and discussion opportunities

  • peer-to-peer discussion forums
  • knowledge sharing amongst practitioners within a discipline
  • creating clinical connections with metro counterparts
  • developing rural networks of Allied Health professionals

Encourage AHA use

  • utilise the allied health assistant workforce
  • pairing allied health assistants with allied health practitioners

Focus on early attraction to rural for healthcare students:

  • Capturing healthcare students’ attention prior to graduation, emphasising the breadth of training and skills that can be developed through rural positions
  • Advocate for greater course entrance to accessibility for rural students
  • Increase availability and support for rural placements and internships

Attraction strategies for the wider pool of allied health candidates to rural jobs:

  • investigate solutions for childcare and accommodation accessibility
  • promoting training for the development of good practice culture to encourage longer retention periods
  • opportunities for professional development and clinical supervision for senior staff

POST FORUM FEEDBACK SURVEY

An in-event poll feedback survey was provided to participants at the end of the Forum, which consisted of 5 questions. Feedback on the delivery of the forum was largely positive – rated an average of 4 out of 5 for satisfaction, usefulness and to be used in the future by participants. Participants reported finding value in open discussion, offering input into solutions and connecting with other service providers and stakeholders.

OPEN CONSULTATION SURVEY – ALLIED HEALTH PRIORITIES

Alongside the Allied Health Primary Care Solutions Forum, RWAV has made an open consultation survey accessible on our website for rural Victorian practitioners to offer further input. The survey is designed for those who may not have been able to attend the forum or those who have further ideas to contribute. The survey is available from the 26th of May to the 30th of June 2022.

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