What allied health care is
Allied health care is provided by trained professionals with university qualifications. They use practices with good evidence of effectiveness to prevent, diagnose and treat various conditions and illnesses.
They often work in teams with various other healthcare workers to provide specialised support to patients.
There is no one definition of allied health. Different definitions are used internationally and across Australia.
Generally, the Australian Government recognises allied health professions that have all the below:
- a university qualification accredited by a relevant national accreditation body
- a national professional organisation with clearly defined membership criteria
- clear national entry-level competency standards and assessment processes
- autonomy of practice
- a clearly defined scope of practice.
Types of allied health care
Some of the larger allied health professions are:
- occupational therapy
- social work
Learn more by seeing our allied health care work statistics.
Where to access allied health care
You can see allied health professionals without a referral from a doctor, such as when you see them as part of a primary care service.
Allied health professionals work in a variety of settings, including:
- private practice
- residential aged care facilities
- community care
- disability services.
Costs of allied health care
Allied health services are funded in different ways. You need to pay a fee for many services, but some are eligible for subsidies and other funding.
Subsidised services include treatment:
- for chronic or terminal conditions that get a Medicare rebate for a limited number of sessions
- in public hospitals and community health centres
- covered through private health insurance rebates
- provided through Primary Health Networks
- for people who have a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) card
- for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants
- covered by third party-compensation (for example, Transport Accident Commission and WorkCover).
Ask your provider about fees before you make your appointment.
Allied health workforce statistics
There are around 200,000 registered allied health professionals in Australia. Allied health is a rapidly growing part of Australia’s health workforce.
Learn more from our workforce fact sheets on allied health professionals.
Yearly workforce growth in allied health professions from 2016-2021
Despite this growth, there is a national shortage of some allied health professions.
The fastest-growing fields are occupational therapy, osteopathy and physiotherapy.
We expect demand for allied health professionals to grow further over the next decade, as Australia’s population changes.
This is especially true for rural and remote Australia, as allied health professionals are concentrated around major urban areas.
Geographic distribution of selected allied health professionals across Australia