Innovative health workforce models

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre (TAAHC) members are recognised nationally and internationally for their expertise in professional training and workforce models for regional, rural and remote areas of northern Queensland.

Rural and remote health practitioners must often operate with greater autonomy and creativity and TAAHC's workforce education and service models train and support these practitioners to work to their full scope of practice. Examples of TAAHC’s work in this area include:

Rural generalism

Queensland, and in particular James Cook University, have led the development of "rural generalism", an expanded scope of practice for medical professionals in rural, remote and resource-poor locations. Rural generalism is now well established across Australia and is expanding internationally . JCU is now working to extend the concept of rural generalism to other health disciplines.

In conjunction with Queensland University of Technology and Queensland Health, JCU has developed a rural generalist program for allied health professionals (Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Radiography, Nutritionist/Dietitian, Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology). It provide practical, work-integrated development for early career professionals to expand their scope of practice to meet the needs of rural and remote communities across Queensland.

Mackay HHS has also been active in developing models for expanding the scope of practice of allied health professionals to support professional skills sharing and delegation and broaden the services available to communities with few allied health professionals.

North West HHS has seen substantial workforce improvements as a result of their novel workforce redesign project to implement rural generalist training from Internship to Fellowship. Since 2013 Registered Medical Officer locum rates have been >1%; and registrars on the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine pathway and Interns increased from 0 to 7 positions each in 2015, with similar achievements in Senior Medical Officer staffing (Orda et al. 2017. AJRH (25)2, pp. 116-119)