World Allied Health Professionals Day 2020

Wednesday 14 October was World Allied Health Professionals Day. It was a chance to celebrate the people working across the at least 43 professions that make up the allied health, scientific and technical workforce in New Zealand. The day was also a chance to raise awareness of how these profess sions contribute to New Zealand’s health and disability sector.

The Ministry’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer Dr Martin Chadwick says today is about highlighting the hard work by the entire allied health sector.

“There are a diverse range of professionals working in allied health, in different settings, right across New Zealand. In fact, there are at-least 43 professions, making up roughly a third of our health and disability workforce. All of them deserve recognition, COVID-19 or no COVID-19. Quite often, they’ll be the first point of contact for patients or others using our health system. 

“Allied health is a big sector, with significant potential and we want to continue highlighting as much of the good work as often as possible in the years to come. In particular this year, I’ve been speaking with a number of practitioners who’ve worked differently during COVID-19 and under immense pressure,” says Dr Chadwick.

Dr Martin Chadwick - What is Allied Health?

[Dr Martin Chadwick to camera]

You have those which are probably well known, so you’d have your occupational therapists, your social workers, your physiotherapists – they’re probably quite well known to a lot of members of the public. But it also takes into account your laboratory scientists, it takes into account your stenographers, your medical imaging technologists.

Then there are those who are also part of the broader health care team so it could be your acupuncturists, your osteopaths, your chiropractors – they’re all part of the professional groups that fall under part of allied health.

So it’s a really important thing that when you receive care that you give informed consent, but informed choice is something we could improve on.

If you have a sore knee for example, do you fully understand what the choices are, because if you’re 75 and have a sore knee, it does not necessarily mean you need the joint replaced. It could be that a conservative pathway could be the right thing for you and it could be that conservative pathway could be physiotherapy, it could be osteopathy or going to the chiropractor.

You know, there are many other choices that are available to you – so its about saying, when you look anything you need to do in planned care, there are options to ensure there is more to give informed choices to the public.

Thank you from Martin Chadwick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer

[Dr Martin Chadwick to camera]

This is an opportunity to really say thank you, because just as an example, and one of the issues I have – as soon as I say thank you to one group, I’m going to immediately exclude people which is not intentional, but if I think over the COVID period, it would be to say thank you to our laboratory scientists who’ve processed over a million COVID lab tests over this period of time.

It would be saying thank you to a lot of our oral health practitioners, who pivoted and when they couldn’t provide services, they went into our community testing facilities to provide swabbing.

It would be to say thank you to a lot of our private practitioners, to our physiotherapists, our chiropractors, our osteopaths, podiatrists and more who actually shut up shop to be part of the team of 5 million during level 4.

It would be to say thank you to our social workers, and I know we’ve got some great examples, where they’ve worked with airline hostesses and the like to repurpose and be able to work at our isolation facilities.

It would be to say thank you to those who’ve provided rehabilitation for the people who have contracted COVID-19, to our speech language therapists, our occupational therapists and the like in our ICUs and beyond. There are just so, so many people  - I could go on and on and on. Pharmacists, I just don’t know where to stop really but it’s really taking the opportunity to say thanks for what they have done during this period.

All 43 Allied Health professions in a single breath

[Dr Martin Chadwick to camera]

Allied Health Professionals are...Anaesthetic technician, Art therapist, Athletic trainer, Audiologist, Cardiovascular technologist, Chiropractor, Clinical laboratory scientist, Clinical neurophysiology, Clinical Physiologist Renal, Communicative Disorders Assistant, Dental hygienist, Dental therapist, Dietitian, Electrocardiogram technician, Exercise physiologist, Genetic Counsellor, Massage therapist, Medical assistant, Medical Imaging Technician, Medical laboratory scientist, Medical radiation scientist, Music therapist, Nutritionist, Occupational therapist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, Orthotist / prosthetist, Oral Health Practitioner, Osteopathy, Paramedic, Perfusionist, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomist, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Play therapist, Podiatrist, Public health epidemiologist, Radiographer, Radiation therapist, Rehabilitation Technician, Rehabilitation counsellor, Social workers, Sonographer / radiographers, Speech Language Therapist, Sterile processing technician, Surgical technologist.

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