TAS Rural Health Inquiry: Final report released

"When staffing levels become critically low, as they are now, therapists can only respond to crises, and their ability to work effectively using their full skill set just can't happen," Ms Fiona O'Keeffe, OTA Tasmanian Divisional Council Chair, cited in final report.

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) welcomes the recent release of the Sub-Committee Report on Rural Health Services in Tasmania, which OTA was pleased to contribute to in 2021.

The final report has identified substantial workforce shortages across the health sector, including occupational therapists, resulting in significantly longer wait times and poorer access to services for Tasmanians living in regional and remote areas.

In addressing attraction and retention difficulties, the report explores:

  • Lack of suitable housing for health professionals in rural and regional areas;
  • Lack of allied health career pathways and training opportunities in the state;
  • Barriers to health professionals working to their full scope of practice; and
  • Employment arrangements, funding models and remuneration for health professionals across the state.

OTA thanks the Tasmanian members who contributed to OTA's submission and Tasmanian Chair, Ms Fiona O'Keeffe, who appeared before the committee at its public hearing in November.

We look forward to working with the Tasmanian and Australian Governments to improve access to occupational therapy services in rural and regional Tasmania.

The final report can be accessed via the Tasmanian Parliament website here.

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