Despite the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) within Australia, particularly in remote locations, there is a substantial unmet demand for allied health services in remote and rural areas of Australia, the demand is evident, but the numbers of allied health professionals have not increased in remote areas. This report proposes approaches for co-design in developing and delivering culturally safe and responsive workforce models and services that are informed by community members, carers, organisations and current service providers.
- Challenges faced by both communities around access to health included no relevant or culturally appropriate information provided to community about accessing services and support; little to no investment toward infrastructure; and travel costs associated with transport from remote communities to a township or regional centre to access services on a regular basis is expensive.
- Currently, the lack of available services in rural and remote regions and the higher percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in remote and rural regions means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are unable to exercise their entitlement of access to the NDIS and other disability services due to the scarcity of appropriate services in these areas and are often not identified as being eligible, meaning that many disability support services are being provided informally by community members.
- To meet the health and wellbeing needs of individuals, families and communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have said they want to study, train and be employed within their own communities. They want to integrate traditional healing methods into contemporary models of health care, as this will also address culturally safe and responsive services.
When developing an allied health workforce, especially in remote and rural communities, it is critical and more important to develop and build on the local community strengths and capacity, not just at a service specific level but with individuals, families and groups that need to access services. This is the most efficient, effective, sustainable and person-centred approach.