Allied Health is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of health practitioners. Although there is no single definition of which professions are included in allied health, it generally excludes doctors, nurses and dentists.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 2012 allied health workforce report included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) health practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners, chiropractors, medical radiation practitioners, occupational therapists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and psychologists. These were the 11 professions in Australia (other than medical practitioners, nurses and midwives and dental practitioners) governed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency as at 2012.
To provide an overview of Allied Health Practitioners (AHPs) role in Australia, The Primarily Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) has released an issue of RESEARCH ROUNDup which contain information as follows:
- The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) recorded that in 2012, there were total of 126,788 registered AHPs in Australia, compared with 91,504 doctors.
- AHPs in Australia are regulated primarily via national registration; The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS), the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Some professions are self-regulated through the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP).
- GP referrals are required for many AHP services to be eligible for Medicare rebates.
- 2007–2008 National Health Survey data revealed that 24% of people had visited AHPs. Utilisation of AHPs is influenced by education levels, English speaking backgrounds, employment, health insurance, and also the conditions.
- AHPs contribute greatly in Primarily Health Care, although there are also inadequate integration services. And there are needs for more interprofessional education.