Allied health in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): Do you have the ability?

Ms Annette Davis1,2, Dr Sarah  Milne1,2, Mr Mitchell Sarkies1,2

1Monash Health, Cheltenham, Australia, 2Department of Health and Human Services, Melbourne, Australia


Allied health professionals and the health sector could benefit from the learnings and reforms of the disability sector. The primary aims of this project were to (1) identify key differences between health and disability practices for allied health professionals, and (2) explore learnings and experiences from allied health professionals currently working in disability.

A qualitative study was nested within a current Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) NDIS project. Two 60 minute interviews were conducted with allied health professionals working in the disability sector to identify examples that illustrate key differences, learnings and experiences from professional practice in the disability sector.

Key areas of difference were explored between the health and disability sectors, including: models of care, considerations when working in the supported persons environment, dignity of risk, goal oriented work, informed choice and informed consent, use of language, reactive and flexible plans, training and education role, and communication styles. Experiences and de-identified case studies from allied health professionals currently working in the disability sector were presented as a mechanism for thematic curation.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
Exploring key differences, learnings, and experiences from allied health professionals who have made the journey from the health to disability sectors could provide a valuable resource for those contemplating or experiencing their own journeys from health to disability service provision.


Annette is the project manager for the DHHS NDIS commonwealth and state funded project for greater utilisation of the assistant workforce in disability.  Annette is the Workforce Innovation Strategy Education and Research Manager at Monash Health and submitted a PhD in October 2018.