Australia's National Drug Strategy beyond 2009: consultation paper
The drug and alcohol sector's capacity to continue to deliver sustainable outcomes will be determined by the skills and energy of, and the supports available to, its workforce. Issues such as recruitment, retention, employment conditions, funding trends and contractual arrangements, quality assurance, supervision and mentoring, training and other systems measures are all crucial elements of a sustainable workforce.
The drug and alcohol workforce is diverse. It includes anyone who comes into contact with alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues as part of their role, including medical specialists, nurses, police, workers in treatment services, teachers, bar staff, managers and health and safety officers.
Over past decades non-government organisations have increasingly been involved or been asked to take the lead in the provision of services to support and treat people with substance use problems. Continuing to build the capacity of the non-government sector will further strengthen outcomes from its work.
Work is progressing to strengthen the health service workforce through the implementation of the COAG Health Workforce Reform Package. As part of the Package a National Health Workforce Agency is being established to develop more effective, streamlined and integrated clinical training arrangements and to support workforce reform initiatives.
In the drug and alcohol sector there may be some scope to examine enhancements to service governance models, infrastructure, quality standards and other structural workforce supports in the future.
Where should effort on the support and development of drug and alcohol sector workforce be focused over the coming five years?
Where should efforts be focussed over the coming five years to increase the capacity of the generalist health workforce to identify and respond to substance use problems?