Hello everyone, I am Dr Anne-marie Boxall, the Australian Government’s Chief Allied Health Officer. I hope you all have exciting plans to celebrate this year’s International Allied Health Professional’s Day!
I would like to acknowledge the important contribution that allied health professionals make across many sectors: hospitals, primary care, aged care, disability, social services, education and more. Allied health professionals are improving the health and wellbeing of Australians in so many different ways. This amazing contribution is something we should all be celebrating today.
The Australian Government recognises that this has been a difficult year for many allied health professionals. I would especially like to thank those of you working at the frontline, particularly in places like Victoria and New South Wales where there has been significant COVID outbreaks.
I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of allied health professionals across the country helping to keep COVID at bay. Allied health professionals have developed specific protocols for infection prevention and control and they have rigorously applied them in their own clinical practices.
Where face to face treatment has not been possible, allied health professionals have been quick to adopt telehealth, ensuring that people can still receive the care they need.
The Australian Government also recognises the integral role allied health professionals play in both the prevention and the treatment of COVID-19. Some of our colleagues have been at the forefront of the vaccine rollout. Others are going to be key parts of the management and care for Australians who are suffering from COVID and recovering from COVID over the long term. The Australian Government thanks you all for this very important work in protecting our community and improving people’s health and wellbeing.
While it might be too soon for some to start thinking about the post COVID era, today I wanted to leave you with one encouragement for the future.
The disruptions COVID has caused will lead to enduring changes for our health system. I would encourage all allied health professionals to embrace the opportunities COVID has created for our sector.
The critical role of allied health in the Australian health system has never been so clear. We need to build on this and continue to raise the profile of our sector.
One small step that all allied health professionals can take is to get involved in research in some small way.
Find research partners in health services, in universities, in governments and in the private sector and help show how valuable allied health care is to ensuring people get high-quality services.
Be ready with the evidence when people ask questions about what allied health professionals do, and what difference does it makes.
We are the second largest clinical workforce in Australia. If we work together, that’s a lot of people helping to raise the profile of allied health. My job is to help amplify that message at the national level and I thank all of you for the great work you are already doing to get the message out.
This last year has certainly presented many challenges, and you should all be proud of the contributions you have made.
The work you are doing is providing us with exciting opportunities to actively shape not only the future of allied health care in Australia, but also the Australian health system.
Thank you, once again, for your wonderful contribution to the community. And happy International Allied Health Professionals’ Day!