The North Coast Allied Health Association (NCAHA) was formed last year with support from North Coast Medicare Local. It’s the peak body for allied health professionals across the North Coast region.
More than 90 per cent of the health care professionals that Australians visit each year outside of hospitals are allied health professionals. A large but often unrecognised group, these health professionals make a substantial contribution to keeping people well and out of hospital.
With latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing a steadily growing allied health workforce, the Association is a timely addition to the North Coast health landscape. Psychologists make up the largest proportion of registered allied health practitioners in Australia (19.8%), followed by pharmacists (18.2%), physiotherapists (16.6%) and dentists (10.1%).
The Association aims to advocate and represent the allied health sector on local, regional and state matters; Provide support for members with education, training and knowledge-sharing; and help foster and advance an integrated and supportive health system.
Importantly, the Association offers members a united, local voice for allied health on regional, state and national levels.
Its Chair is Professor Susan Nancarrow from Southern Cross University’s Health and Human Sciences faculty. Susan has a podiatry background. The two NCAHA Directors are occupational therapist Luisa Eckhardt who works at Korora, near Coffs Harbour, and Mid North Coast physiotherapist Robert Curry.
Late last year a series of breakfasts was held across the North Coast to introduce the NCAHA. Susan said the gatherings helped inform the direction of the Association.
“Those who attended were asked their opinions on the strategic issues facing the allied health community. Overwhelmingly, participants could see value in networking opportunities to share case studies and to interact more closely with GPs and health professionals from other modalities.
“There was also a strong call for advocacy and the NCAHA is happy to take on that role,” Susan said.
Membership of the NCAHA is open to all qualified health practitioners or those undergoing training in the following allied health professions:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
- Allied Health assistants
- Dental Therapist/Hygienist
- Diabetes Educator
- Diagnostic Radiographer
- Exercise Physiologist
- Mental Health Worker
- Occupational Therapist
- Radiation Therapist
- Social Worker
- Speech Pathologist
- Other professions as the Directors may determine
Members can enjoy opportunities to connect with best evidence-based practice and other clinicians at educational and networking events.
Additionally, members of NCAHA have free and unlimited access to over 90 online professional development courses through TAFE North Coast. All courses are peer reviewed by industry professionals and endorsed by industry associations.
Check out the North Coast Allied Health Association website www.ncaha.org.au for further information and the membership application form.
For an interview or to find out more, contact Professor Susan Nancarrow on 0407 877 973 or 6680 3000.