04 March 2015
Invest in allied health to heal hospital budgets
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, joined in the launch of research demonstrating how allied health providers can free up hospital beds, speed patient recovery and save taxpayers money.
The research looks at a broad range of health issues including stroke, diabetes and osteoarthritis, as well as surgery including hip and knee replacement and diabetic limb amputations.
The findings are in one of two reports released today that were conducted for Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) as part of an Australian National University research project.
The other report shows a serious shortage of early intervention providers, especially psychologists, mean children with autism and disabilities in rural areas are accessing up to 60 per cent less government funding than children living in urban areas.
Mr Wilkie used the findings to urge the Tasmanian Government to reverse cuts to allied health services.
At the Royal Hobart Hospital, the Health and Community Services Union estimates that most Allied Health departments have lost between 8 and 25 per cent of their full-time equivalent positions.
``At a time when hospital budgets and staff are stretched to the limit, to sack these vital frontline workers who can get people home from hospital sooner and prevent elective surgery is complete madness,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
``These workers are worth their weight in gold because they save hospitals money.’’
Allied health professionals include speech pathologists, physiotherapists and psychologists who provide vital frontline services.
Mr Wilkie is the co-chair of the Parliamentary rural and remote allied health group.
The SARRAH reports can be viewed here.
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