28 May 2019
The Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (the Board) and Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) have today announced a new collaborative partnership.
The partnership is focused on improving the quality, accessibility, cultural safety and responsiveness of occupational therapists to meet the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples working as and studying to become occupational therapists is also a key priority.
The partnership sets out opportunities for IAHA and the Board to collaborate and share experience and resources to enable positive transformation of occupational therapy practice.
This includes implementation of the Board’s Australian occupational therapy competency standards (the competency standards) which provides guidance on the professional behaviours all occupational therapists must demonstrate to practise safely and ethically.
The competency standards acknowledge the need for occupational therapists to enhance their cultural responsiveness and capabilities for practice with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
‘Occupational therapists operate across diverse settings including clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, long-term care facilities, community health centres and home healthcare agencies. We have an opportunity and responsibility across health, education and community sectors to address the social, historical, political and cultural determinants that negatively affect the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,’ said Board Chair Julie Brayshaw.
‘IAHA is pleased to partner with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia and to support the profession in this way. While we are today formalising our partnership and mutual commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians, we are really acknowledging an active relationship that has proven to be genuine and positive over recent years,’ said IAHA Chairperson, Nicole Turner.
‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are massively under-represented among allied health and other professions. Addressing this shortage is one way we can improve access to vital occupational therapy and other health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ added Ms Turner.
‘Quality clinical practice is culturally safe and responsive practice and must be assessed on the access to and impact of services people receive,’ Ms Turner said.