Allied Health Assistants – What’s Next?

Allied Health Assistants not only offer the opportunity to support our paper-thin workforce, they also add a valuable depth to our service offer and enable Allied Health Practitioners to work at the top of their Scope. However, we know that there is a stark commercial reality to embracing all that an AHA service currently has to offer. As strong supporters of the community shift towards utilization of Allied Health Assistants, we at Nacre Consulting considered that it was timely to review the development of the role, it’s governance, trends that we are hearing and the tools that we have developed to support the implementation of the role within a busy Allied Health Business.


Allied Health Assistant National Association (AHANA) have made huge strides towards setting them up for what we hope will become a Self-Regulating Peak for the AHA role. Their website provides a range of information about the role, qualifications, levels and links to useful resources, it’s well worth a visit. We will continue to monitor AHANA’s development and collaborate as required.  


Within the NDIS, the Annual Pricing Review is underway as we write this article.   

Whether we see a price increase for AHA and / or AHP services is yet to be seen, we know that margins are narrow for both services right now. To pause on the viability of AHA services for a moment, we know that the operational logistics, the likely casual and part time workforce, the current price point, clinical governance, professional and market readiness etc…all add up to a heavy duty business case to make it all actually work.  

We have all fingers and toes crossed for a lift in the service fees in the coming Pricing Arrangements. Surely the Agency sees that this is as essential to get this profession up and off the ground and working effectively for all parties.   

As for how you forward plan the AHA role – it’s worth thinking about their specific roles and responsibilities, how they map to those of the AHP. Getting the Scope of Practice is critical, along with thinking through what they will provide clinically, where the value will sit, the support required and how the money will work.  

AHA’s must work under the supervision of an AHP and the cost of this needs to be factored into the price of their service, as does the time for session preparation and client related follow up. While the NDIA talk in terms of ‘hours’ when they set up a Plan, (potentially tucked away on lines that only AHA’s can access) a change of mindset to ‘service’ cost may be in order to ensure viability.   


This is the big one, and there is no short cut to establishing your AHA’s Scope of Practice. We have come to conclude that forming the Scope of Practice for your AHA’s will be:  

  • Individualised to your business, your caseloads, your values and your clients 
  • Individualised to the AHA’s skills and experiences 
  • Dependent on the skills and experiences of the clinicians who will be supervising the AHA’s 
  • Informed by your relevant Discipline Peak Organisations 
  • Closely governed through systemised learning, ongoing assessment and supervision applied with a growth mindset 
  • Completely aligned to the business risk system 

To that end, we have developed The AHA Scope of Practice Resource to help you get started on this element of planning and potentially operationalising your AHA service. Consider this resource a good short list of resources that will help you think through AHA and AHP Scope of Practice and how to move forward with this knowledge in your business.  

Heads Up. Our Nacre Consulting members have exclusive access to The AHA Toolbox which is a comprehensive state of the art guide to step you through the AHA planning and implementation processes. Not going to lie, we are super proud of this resource, folks we hope you think, like us, that it was worth the wait! 


Anactively used and evolving risk system should sit at the foundation of every business, and we hope that this is the case for those of you reading this. If not, get on it (Macca’s global IT crash anyone?). Being as prepared as possible for worst case scenarios means that in the tiny chance that ‘it hits the fan’ you’re best placed to park the panic and gear up the response.  

Now that I have stepped down from my soap box, let us turn that risk assessment focus to the AHA role. For many Allied Health Businesses, Allied Health Professionals and health service consumers, the AHA role, service and outcomes are new. Therefor the risks are also new and largely unmapped and untested to be honest. Social media ‘advice’ does not count, it’s time to really understand the risk, your appetite for risk and how you will manage issues as and when required. As we know, sitting with risk is often opportunity, but how will you embrace this and develop a balance and realistic business case for proceeding?  

We suggest that you start your Risk considerations with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. If this is a new concept for you, there are loads of websites dedicated to SWOT and we recommend that you get searching and SWOT’ing.  

Following the identification of these risks, applying them to your existing risk matrix using your risk identification and mitigation systems will be the next step. Nacre Consulting members – we have provided an interactive tool for you to use over in The AHA Toolbox. For everyone else, the interweb will provide you with some examples of places to start in the event that you need to build a Risk Management Metric of your own. 


We are starting to hear from our members and the Allied Health Business community at large that more NDIS Plans are starting to appear with designated funding against AHA and insufficient funding against AHP to support the AHA component. Yet again we realise that a significant amount of education is needed for NDIS Planners and Partners to understand how the AHA role works, that it is not about saving money and that a financial and time investment from AHP’s and business owners is required to ensure it works with quality, safety and positive outcomes for all.    

We are also hearing about some positive trends around different business and therapy models that our innovative and dynamic SME community are trialling with this role. They are faced with great outcomes for their clients and their businesses as well as their teams, including the development of teams of AHA’s that include an AHA Practice Lead and often contain a mix of career AHA’s as well as some Allied Health students.  

Innovation and courage for the win and the wrap here. We are excited to see a growing number of examples where the AHA service and AHP supports are working well for all parties, for sure we would love to see a more significant bottom line, but – AHA teams are filling out, AHA Team Leaders are pinning on their badges, competency training modules are the order of the day and career progression frameworks are being rolled out.  

Bravo brave businesses! 


It’s time to arm yourself with some information about the AHA movement. We encourage you to check out AHANA, maybe get on their newsletter and keep any eye on how other businesses like your yours are tackling this challenge / opportunity. We hope that the The AHA Scope of Practice Resource will save you loads of time and sharpen your focus on the key resources to get you started. As always we will keep our ear to the ground regarding developments and share what we know, and what we think here on the blog. And you know what we haven’t mentioned, the role of AHA’s in your recruitment regime, more about that another time – or perhaps on a Power Call 

The AHA Scope of Practice Resource

Fill up the form to download the document

The AHA Scope of Practice Resource

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Chantelle Robards
Chantelle Robards has a long history with supporting the NDIS marketplace through provision of technical information and advocacy. As a speech pathologist who continues to support a small caseload she has comprehensive insight into the business community especially with regards to the NDIS. Chantelle's ultimate goal is to ensure an ethical and thriving market place that provides the very best of support to all Australians who are seeking it.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

Related Posts