Advancing rural allied health practice through health service collaboration

Mr Daniel Baker1, Mrs  Alex Spiller2

1Bass Coast Health , Wonthaggi, Australia, 2Gippsland Southern Health Service, Leongatha, Australia


Develop an ‘own grown’ specialist sub-regional workforce responsive to an identified service gap.

A pre-training evaluation of current skills, confidence and capacity of local allied health professionals who provide care to People with Autism was conducted using Survey Monkey ®. This evaluation explored confidence providing care to People with Autism, history of previous training in this field and confidence and capability to perform positive behaviour support therapy. Subsequently, an interprofessional cohort of Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Social Workers were recruited to share locally delivered training informed by the evaluation. A post-training evaluation was conducted to review the success of the training program and to identify areas that needed further support through mentoring and supervision.

Pre-training results showed 70% of clinicians felt underprepared to deliver positive behaviour support services for People with Autism with challenging behaviours and 90% of clinicians reported no previous formal training in supporting People with Autism with challenging behaviours. Post training evaluation results will be presented to show the outcome of the training program.

Significance for Allied Health:
Collaboration and joint applications for grants are a viable approach for smaller health services to develop service capabilities to meet community needs. This approach also provides opportunities for rural allied health professionals to pursue advancing practice opportunities, aiding in staff recruitment and retention.

A collaborative investigation into an interprofessional group’s training needs pre and post training intervention can show progression to advancing practice capability.


Daniel is the Sub-Regional Allied Health Clinical Educator in South Gippsland. Daniel has a clinical background as a podiatrist and has completed post graduate studies in Public Health.