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Australia : New Allied Health generalist graduate program aids rural needs.

Rural and remote health facilities are benefitting from a new Department of Health program designed to increase the number of Allied Health graduates working in regional areas.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said 11 new graduates in Allied Health professions had been allocated to rural and remote facilities under the Allied Health Rural Generalist Training program.

"Nine of these graduates already have taken up their places so far, with the remaining two in the process of recruitment to the positions at Longreach and Cooktown, Mr Springborg said.

The Minister said the positions were designed to provide new Allied Health graduates with on-the-job training and mentoring during the first year of their career, while also helping boost Allied Health services to rural and remote areas.

"We would hope that a period of time working in regional areas will open the new graduates eyes to the merits of a professional career in rural Queensland, he said.

The 11 new graduate positions also are being used to develop and trial a new training program that would fit Allied Health professionals with skills and experience more suited to working in regional and remote areas.

"In major provincial and metropolitan public health facilities, Allied Health professionals tend to sub-specialise, Mr Springborg said.

"A physiotherapist at a major provincial or metropolitan hospital, for example, may specialise in a particular area, such paediatric physiotherapy, or cancer care, or women s health, spinal and so on.

"Similarly, a pharmacist in a metropolitan area may sub-specialise in areas like cardiac, renal, oncology, etc.

"But an Allied Health professional working in the country has to have a grasp of how to deal with all the patient conditions they may come across within their individual professional areas.

"These 11 graduate positions, therefore, will be used to develop a new rural generalist training program for Allied Health professionals.

Mr Springborg said the successful graduates were placed into each of the 11 new positions for a period of 12 months, after which they would be replaced by a new cohort of graduates for a further year.

"During those 12 months, they will be able to build up their professional skills and practical experience, with particular focus on building those rural generalist skills that are more suitable to rural communities, he said.

"This will then stand them in good stead to apply for any available vacant Allied Health positions within Queensland Health or elsewhere once they complete their 12-month graduate placement.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jun 6, 2014
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