HRDA Director Graham Roberts PhD and Senior Associate Emeritus Professor attended the Allied Health Conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia in January 2019, which was held to discuss issues and create structures to facilitate the further integration of Allied Health Professions into the health system; and to identify those functions that are best delivered as a single profession and those amenable to multi-disciplinary care and the potential for economic efficiencies.
Malaysia is experiencing increasing pressures to deliver health services and to combat increasing costs, while also experiencing a workforce shortage. A recent focus on multi-skilled team approaches offers some potential to meet increasing demand and contain costs by rethinking roles and the potential for complimentary or dual practice, or for introducing assistant level practitioners. Lack of an allied health professionals ‘voice’ within reforming systems represents one of the greatest causes of professional concern. The basic issue of power imbalance between AHPs and the medical and nursing professions is yet to be effectively addressed.
The HRH Country Profile (2013) stated that “most allied health professionals in the Ministry of Health are hospital-based”. Allied health professionals are essential members in team-based approaches to deal with leading health challenges, such as NCDs and cancer. One of the challenges facing these professionals is for system changes that would enable them to gain competence and acceptance in settings that would increase their effectiveness in disease prevention and health promotion.
In May 2019 HRDA submitted the “Establishment of Workforce Profile of Allied Health Professionals in Malaysia” which provided a baseline for consideration as Malaysia progresses to formulate an Action Plan to address priority issues related to the registration and further integration of Allied Health Professions into Malaysia’s health system.