Allied health professionals are qualified health practitioners with specialised expertise in preventing, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions and illnesses.
What is allied health?
The allied health workforce is made up of health professionals who are not part of the medical, dental or nursing professions. There are at least 43 professions that are classed as Allied Health professions in New Zealand.
Allied health professionals are autonomous practitioners who work in a variety of health care settings and often work in multidisciplinary teams.
The allied health workforce is regulated in two ways, national regulation under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) or are self-regulated by a professional body.
Allied health professionals regulated under the HPCA Act are:
- Dental therapy/oral health therapy
- Medical Laboratory Science/Anaesthetic Technology
- Occupational Therapy
Chief Allied Health Professions Officer
The Ministry appointed Dr Martin Chadwick into the first Chief Allied Health Professions Officer role in the Ministry of Health in February 2019.
The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer is part of the Executive Leadership team, reflecting the importance of allied health clinical leadership in the health system.
Martin joins the Ministry of Health from the Bay of Plenty DHB where he has held the post of Executive of Director Allied Health, Scientific and Technical for the last two years.
Previously he held a similar role at Counties Manukau DHB for six years. He has over 25 years of health experience in a range of roles in both the USA and New Zealand and has filled a variety of clinical, managerial and strategic leadership roles. He is the current chair of the National Directors of Allied Health group.
Martin has recently completed his doctoral degree via AUT examining health workforce change. Martin is passionate about the untapped potential that allied health professions can bring in improving the quality of care provided to our populations, and in turn better meeting equitable population health needs.
Allied health work programme
The Ministry of Health has five key areas of focus for the allied health workforce, framed as the ‘five challenges for allied health’. The Ministry wishes to work with the health and disability sector to overcome these challenges.
The challenges are:
- To develop a framework to understand Allied Health in a New Zealand context
- To quantify the utility or value add of allied health to patient care
- The equity challenge
- Making sense of a crowded landscape
- Transdisciplinary working
Dr Martin Chadwick talks about the five challenges