As a critical workforce for public health services, NSW Health has a focus on developing the allied health workforce. In recent years, NSW Health has undertaken workforce redesign and mapping projects to gain further understanding and to develop responsive workforce groups.

Allied health assistant

The Allied Health Assistant (AHA) Initiative is a response to Strategy 7.8 of the Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022 which outlines the importance of growing the Allied Health Workforce in line with forecast health service demand and delivery requirements.

The AHA Initiative involved a three step process:

  1. Workforce mapping survey
  2. Allied Health Assistant Framework
  3. Allied health assistant online training module

Workforce mapping survey

AHAs have been part of the NSW Health workforce for many years, but they do not have a unique award category and therefore workforce information about this group is not readily available.

To obtain information related to AHAs a survey was conducted in July 2012. The intention of the survey was to collect information regarding the number of AHAs employed across NSW Public Health facilities, the job titles used to describes AHAs, the qualifications they hold and the disciplines they support.

This is the first time this information has been collected on a state-wide level and it provides baseline data against which future surveys can measure the change and progress of the AHA Initiative. For more information view the AHA survey results

Allied Health Assistant Framework

The AHA Framework describes the effective employment and utilisation of Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) in the NSW Health workforce.

The framework defines the roles and responsibilities that AHAs have in the delivery of patient care; provides a structure for Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to effectively supervise and delegate to AHAs and provides information to assist with growing this workforce safely and effectively.

The AHA Framework outlines the eight components requiring consideration when employing and working with AHAs.

The eight components each have a set of guidelines that act as a check point for health services when implementing the framework. The components provide guidance to understanding the roles and responsibilities of AHAs and AHPs as well as the supervision and support AHAs require to work safely with patients. The quick reference to the eight components and their respective guidelines are on pages 12-13 of the framework.

The AHA Framework is a NSW Health guideline GL2013_005.

Some tools have been developed to assist LHDs in implementation of the AHA Framework:

  • Template - Position Description
    The template AHA Position Description provides the essential elements for inclusion in accordance with the NSW Health e-recruit system. Health Services are encouraged to expand on the template and adjust according to local service needs.
  • Worksheet - Establishing a New AHA Position
    This worksheet can be used to guide health services through the steps that need to be considered when looking to create new AHA positions.
  • Worksheet - Reviewing Existing AHA Positions
    This worksheet is intended to act as compliance guide for services that have existing AHA positions and want to ensure the administration and function of the position is in line with the AHA Framework.

Allied health assistant online training module

Targeted at Allied health professionals, managers, directors and other staff who work with AHAs this interactive training program provides a practical guide on how to implement the Framework at a local level in various settings with detailed examples, tips and strategies.

The program was developed by the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) and covers all the components in the framework as well as a section on communication. Users can select a particular topic of interest or can chose to complete the entire program.

The program aims to develop a broad understanding of AHAs in the workforce including their scope of practice, skills and competencies, how to effectively supervise and delegate and how to integrate AHAs into allied health teams.

The AHA online training module is available on the from the HETI online learning centre.

Launch day – AHA/AHP Working Together Forum

On 9 August 2013 the NSW Ministry of Health and the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) partnered to host the AHA/AHP Working Together Forum, a half day event with an opportunity to provide the audience with some background to the AHA Initiative, as well as demonstrate the Allied Health Assistant online training module and provide an overview of the contents of the framework.

Two staff members from Royal Rehabilitation Centre at Ryde also presented a practical insight into how the framework can be applied in the workplace.

Allied Health representatives were able to attend from most LHDs however, there were also many that were not able to attend and we have been able to capture the essential parts of the day on video:

Page Updated: Tuesday 23 May 2017