Allied Health workforce set to up skill
A new on the job training scheme for Allied Health workers has been launched in Canterbury.
Twenty one Canterbury District Health Board Allied Health Assistants (AHA) are set to begin the new 15-month course,
giving them the opportunity to gain a National Certificate in Health Assistance – Rehabilitation Assistance Strand.
The course has been made possible thanks to the Regional Allied Health Assistant Development Project – an initiative of
the South Island Regional Training Hub Allied Health Work stream. The goal was to develop a framework for the
implementation of Allied Health Assistant (AHA) Training and Development into the five regional South Island DHBs using
the Careerforce NZQA Level 3 National Certificate in Health, Disability, and Aged Support (Health Assistants).
Stella Ward, Canterbury and West Coast DHB Executive Director of Allied Health, says the qualifications will formally
recognise skills assistants already have, as well as develop new skills and broaden their knowledge.
“The idea is future Allied Health Assistants will be more equipped to support all Allied Health services. Allied Health
Assistants currently work under a supervising health professional and once qualified will have a broader understanding
of what different Allied Health professionals do,” Stella says.
“Instead of sending several people to follow up a patient, we will be able to send just one person. It’s about giving
them skills to work across Allied Health services as we work towards flexibility in our future workforce.”
Stella says the Allied Health Assistants workforce is critical to meeting changes in the future health workforce needs.
“With training and support from Allied Health Professionals (AHP), assistants have the potential to increase capacity
for service provision by enabling the limited AHP resource to concentrate on complex assessment and intervention, for
example the most appropriate people doing the right task,” Stella says.
“It also means we can provide services closer to people’s home as this project will support the development of an AHA
workforce with more generic /flexible skills which can be better integrated across hospital, community and home.”
Careerforce is running the certificate programme with strands in Dietitian Assistance, Dental Assistance, Healthcare
Assistance and Rehabilitation Assistance. Training for AHAs using the Dental and/or Rehabilitation Assistance strands is
now underway in each of the South Island District Health Boards co-ordinated by Catherine Coups from the South Island
Regional Training Hub (SIRTH).