Allied health professionals are generally university qualified practitioners with expertise in preventing, diagnosing, and treating a range of illnesses and conditions. They practice outside of the nursing, midwifery and medical professions.
Allied health professionals may work on their own, or as part of health or community services. They work as part of a health team made up of different health professions to support the needs of the patient.
In the ACT, the Office of the Chief Allied Health Officer recognises a broad range of health professions as allied health. Some professions provide mainly therapeutic care, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and others are mainly involved in diagnostic or scientific practice, such as medical laboratory scientists and radiographers.
While there is no universally accepted definition of allied health, allied health professions can be identified through having:
- A direct role in patient care or to broader public health outcomes;
- A defined core scope of practice;
- A national peak body with a code of ethics and conduct and clear membership requirements;
- Clear national entry level competency standards and assessment procedures.
Allied health professionals:
- Can work on their own or with assistants, technicians or support workers;
- Often have university qualifications in their field;
- Apply their skills to retain, restore or gain optimal physical, sensory, psychological, cognitive, social and cultural function of clients, groups and populations.