Six: The interface of health support workers with the allied health professions


The chapter begins by describing the allied health workforce, before exploring from a neo-Weberian perspective the development of the support workforce associated with the allied health professions with a focus on the United Kingdom and Australia – not least by considering the reasons for introducing a support workforce, the contexts in which it is used, the negotiation of its boundaries, and the challenges and opportunities for allied health professions and its support workforce. In particular, this chapter claims that the heterogeneous allied health support workforce has evolved through two models, with different types of workers. The first is the profession-led model, which supports the neo-Weberian idea of the professional project, in which allied health professions developed support roles to expand and maintain their market monopoly and autonomy in niche areas. The second is the managerial model, which instead privileges the ‘patient-centred’ goals of increasing role flexibility by recognising and rewarding individuals’ skills and competencies and working across traditional professional and organisational boundaries. The chapter finally outlines some of the key challenges to allied health support workforce going forward.

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