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The Rural Allied Health Workforce Study (RAHWS) : background, rationale and questionnaire development

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Keane, Sheila; Smith, Tony; Lincoln, Michelle; Wagner, Scott; Lowe, Shelagh
  • Journal Name: Rural and Remote Health
  • Journal Number: Vol.8, No.4
  • Country: Australia

The allied health professions comprise about 18 per cent of the health workforce in Australia, but there is inadequate information about the nature of this workforce. Recent studies highlight the need for current, detailed information about the allied health workforce in rural areas to assist in workforce planning; national health policy reform requires that new healthcare models take into account future workforce requirements, the distribution and work contexts of existing practitioners, training needs, workforce roles and scope of practice. This paper outlines the Rural Allied Health Workforce Study (RAHWS), which uses a cross-sectional survey to provide a large scale but detailed profile of the allied health workforce in regional, rural and remote Australia. It is designed to provide uniform data across a wide range of health care settings and to answer research questions about rural recruitment and retention, professional education and service delivery models. The article includes a copy of the questionnaire and discussion of its development.

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