Inter-professional Collaboration and Learning

ACT Health is committed to promoting and embedding inter-professional collaborative practice and learning across all agencies, teams and individuals involved in delivering health care within the ACT, including collaboration with external agencies, teams, patients and families. The ACT Health Inter-professional Learning, Education and Practice policy applies to all health professionals working in direct and indirect patient and family centred care in ACT Health.

What is Inter-professional Practice and Learning?

Inter-professional collaborative practice

When multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality care. Elements of effective collaborative practice include respect, trust, shared decision-making and partnerships (World Health Organisation.2010).

Inter-professional learning

When two or more health professionals learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes (World Health Organisation,2010).

Inter-professional competency domains

These identify the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that shape the judgements essential for inter-professional collaborative practice.
Inter-professional competency domains include the following:

  • Inter-professional communication
    Patient/client/consumer/family/carer centred care
    Role clarification
    Team functioning
    Collaborative leadership
    Inter-professional conflict resolution

Ref: Canadian Inter-professional Health Collaborative, 2010.

To learn more about the definitions and terminology for Inter-professional learning please click on link below

National and International Awareness

There is growing awareness and recognition that inter-professional collaborative practice strengthens health systems and improves health outcomes and further, that inter-professional education is a necessary step in preparing a 'collaborative practice-ready' health workforce.
Evidence for inter-professional collaborative practice and learning can be found at international and national levels. See below for a selection of the evidence.

International Awareness

The World Health Organisation advocates inter-professional education and collaboration and has published a Framework for Action on Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Practice.
One of the key messages in the framework is that "After almost 50 years of enquiry, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners acknowledge that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that effective inter-professional education enables effective collaborative practice'.

There is also a great deal of international literature about inter-professional collaborative practice, much of which examines how the themes in the WHO Framework can be applied. One such example, the National Inter-professional Competency Framework, published by the Canadian Inter-professional Health Collaborative, helps to distil the concept of inter-professional collaborative practice into competencies required for effective collaboration.

National Awareness

In Australia, inter-professional collaboration and education have been identified not only as practices that can improve patient care, but as valid methods for enhancing the skills of health care professionals into the future in a way that may help address workforce and skills shortages.
Health Workforce Australia (HWA) has published a number of documents relating to this including a National Common Health Capability Resource:Shared Activities and behaviours in the Australian health workforce

ACT Health Policy

The ACT Health Inter-professional Learning, Education and Practice policy applies to all health professionals working in direct and indirect patient and family centred care in ACT Health.

Implementation of this policy is overseen by the ACT Health Inter-professional Learning Coordinator who is located in the Chief Allied Health Office.

Need More Information?

For further information please contact the Inter-professional Learning Coordinator Ned Jelbart at or by phone (02) 6205 3058.