A report released by the Grattan Institute claims having Allied Health and Nursing Assistants take on tasks currently performed by Occupational Therapists, Physios and Nurses will save more than $43 million per year.

The report, titled “Unlocking Skills in Hospitals- Better Jobs, More Care”, recommends that Allied Health Assistants take over some of the clinical tasks currently performed by OTs and Physios including some aspects of treatment, assisting with discharge and dealing with equipment while Physios and OTs continue to assess and plan the treatment of patients/give diagnostic information with more of their time being freed up to do program development and coordination.

The VHPA agrees that, with the role of AHA’s evolving into the future, establishing national training requirements and a clearer role for AHAs across workplaces is needed.

However the VHPA have some serious concerns regarding the report, which could mean the undermining of the extensive training and experience required to provide the high level of support offered by OTs and Physios and the report doesn’t make clear how this high level of support will be maintained.

It does quote Hospital CEOs heavily and states that Public Hospital CEOs believe that Allied Health Assistants can complete at least 23% of work done by Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists without reducing safety or quality- and that Private Hospital CEOs believe the amount to be 42% although the authors could find little evidence that the measures would actually save money, stating that “Evidence on the cost savings from the use of assistants is scant.”

Rather than this kind of speculation, VHPA would like to see some hard evidence supporting these claims especially when standards of patient care are possibly at risk.

Also of concern is the seeming lack of input from the workers and professionals that the recommendations would impact the most. VHPA has been monitoring this issue and taking feedback from members for some time. In light of this report, we welcome further feedback from our members.

You can download the full report here: Unlocking Skills in Hospitals Let us know what you think by commenting below or emailing us at info@vahpa.asn.au