The Australian Podiatry Association hosted the APodA National Podiatry Workforce Summit, held at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast Campus. The Workforce Summit Report is now available to summarise the key points shared on the day and highlight the complexity of workforce issues affecting the podiatry profession.

 

Here is an excerpt from the report for more context:

The summit itself brought together almost 20 industry leaders from the podiatry and allied health sectors. Attendees at the Workforce Summit represented the Federal Department of Health, state-based Chief Allied Health Officers, the Australasian Council of Podiatric Deans (ACPD), representatives from the podiatry business community, the rural, remote and regional podiatry workforce and other policy and advocacy leaders. 

 

Attendees discussed key workforce issues and shared their data and in doing so created a baseline of united understanding to inform potential future workforce strategies. 

 

What did we learn?  

The summit held up a mirror to many complexities which can be loosely categorised into two key learnings (or more aptly – reminders for us all). 

 

#1 This must be an all–of–allied health undertaking 

Hard truths were shared on the day, albeit very welcomed. One take home message became clear – to address workforce challenges that affect the podiatry profession we must do so under the coordinated banner of allied health.  

 

Without such solidarity, podiatry risks being overlooked. An ‘all–of–allied health’ approach arguably offers the greatest opportunity to address a range of workforce issues thereby increasing everyone’s opportunity to be visible and heard by key changemakers across government, industry and global sectors.  

 

#2 The importance of data  

Such data-sharing was not without its uncomfortable moments on the day. Yet this discomfort was embraced by attendees, given progress lies beyond such gaps in understanding.  

 

Fundamental workforce data issues emerged that certainly warrant further investigation beyond the scope of this report. These include inconsistencies in data definitions, variability in data collection processes, lack of linkages between datasets and delays in access to data.  

 

In fact, the need to significantly improve data collection, analysis, synthesis and reporting systems was emphasised on the day of the summit. This is essential if we are to more constructively address workforce challenges as a profession, let alone advocate for allied health as a whole.  

 

Most notably perhaps, the summit revealed disparity between government led podiatry workforce data and university–led data. The former projections paint a considerably more positive picture than the latter’s reality.  

 

Had the summit not taken place, critical data gaps such as these may have been overlooked; potentially undermining future workforce action.

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Download the 'APodA Podiatry Workforce Summit Outcomes' report

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