Private practice disability therapy workforce in rural New South Wales, Australia

Gisselle Gallego, Rebecca Chedid, Angela Dew, Kim Bulkeley, Michelle Lincoln, Anita Bundy, Jennie Brentnall, Craig Veitch

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Abstract

Despite an increasing demand for therapy services, there is a shortage of therapists in rural areas. We describe the existing private therapy workforce in rural western New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A cross-sectional design study, using an online survey, was conducted with occupational and physiotherapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists working in private practice in western NSW. Forty-one private therapists completed the survey. The average years of qualification was 19; 51% worked part-time. Two-thirds (68%) indicated they had adequate access to professional development opportunities. Sixty-four percent reported intending to stay in their job for 12 months. Most (95%) reported high levels of job satisfaction. Respondents had worked in western NSW for a median of 17 yrs. Sixtyeight percent described opportunities for social interaction as very good. Sixty-six percent grew up in rural areas. All respondents agreed that they loved the rural lifestyle. The results portray an experienced, stable, flexible, and highly satisfied professional group. With the current changes in policies within the disability sector, it is important to maximise these features of private therapy in order to contribute to the rural workforce and increase access to the range of supports available for people with disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-229
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Volume45
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Gallego, G., Chedid, R., Dew, A., Bulkeley, K., Lincoln, M., Bundy, A., ... Veitch, C. (2016). Private practice disability therapy workforce in rural New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Allied Health, 45(3), 225-229.