Chief Allied Health Office (CAHO)

The Chief Allied Health Office (CAHO), led by Mark Petrich in the role of Chief Allied Health Officer, provides leadership, strategic advice and support on issues including workforce, clinical practice, education and research for more than 26 allied health and health science professions.

The Office has a broad systems role in:

  • identifying trends in the delivery of allied health and health science services and workforce across the WA health system
  • encouraging leadership, strategic direction and interprofessional collaboration for allied health and health science services
  • collaborating with Health Service Providers, allied health and health science professionals to facilitate a safe, effective and efficient health system
  • providing high level policy advice to the Minister for Health, State Government, as well as professional leadership to national groups, on issues related to the allied health and health science professions.

On behalf of the WA Department of Health, the CAHO leads the application of strategic solutions to address issues at the interface with health services in the key portfolio areas of disability and homelessness.

Professions including:

  • Audiology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Perfusion
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Dietetics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Medical Imaging Technology
  • Medical Librarians
  • Medical Physics
  • Medical Science
  • NeurophysiologyScience
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Paramedicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Sleep and Respiratory Science
  • Social Work
  • Sonography
  • Speech Pathology
CAHO news

14th National Allied Health Conference

From the 9th – 12th August the WA Chief Allied Health Office hosted the 14th National Allied Health Conference. This conference is the preeminent Australian conference for allied health professionals, attracting professionals from across the country and internationally. With the challenges presented by COVID-19, the conference was held virtually for the first time attracting more than 800 delegates and 400 abstracts submissions.

The conference provided an opportunity for professionals to showcase their great work as well as discuss key issues relevant to allied health including national reforms in the rural health and aged care sectors, digital and technological innovation and the allied health response to challenges presented by COVID-19. Additionally, it provided an opportunity to hear from some of the leading speakers and experts on these issues.

One of the highlights was keynote speaker Sam Bloom, 2 x World Para Surfing champion, author, and inspiration behind the movie Penguin Bloom, who shared her story and spoke of her positive experiences with allied health professionals.

WA is scheduled to host the 15th National Allied Conference in August 2023.

Our vision

To ensure sustainable, person centred, integrated health services into the future by enhancing health systems and health outcomes through collaboration and advice on allied health and health science issues across professions and sectors.

The CAHO's vision is realised through its delivery of advice, direction and support across four key areas - Leadership, Research, Clinical Practice and Education. 


The CAHO provides executive level input into health system decision-making from the allied health perspective and leads system-wide reform.


The CAHO is committed to building research capacity and capability across the allied health and health science professional workforce in WA.

Clinical Practice

The CAHO aids clinical practice for allied health and health science professions in Western Australia.


The CAHO has links with multiple WA based training organisations and supports learning and development opportunities.

Allied health and health sciences

The Allied Health and Health Sciences portfolio provides leadership, strategic advice, guidance and support to WA allied health and health science professionals and promotes their role in optimising a patient-first, sustainable, innovative health system for all Western Australians.

Current key activities within this portfolio include:

  • Leading Sustainable Health Review Recommendation 25 (Implement contemporary workforce roles and scope of practice where there is a proven record of supporting better health outcomes and sustainability) together with the other members of the Department of Health’s Chief Health Professions Forum.
  • Representing WA Health on state and national allied health committees
  • Providing high level policy and clinical workforce advice to State and Commonwealth governments on issues relevant to the allied health and health science professions.
  • Liaising with allied health education providers to support the future sustainability of the allied health and health science workforce.
  • Developing and undertaking high-level monitoring of the allied health and health science workforce trends
  • Building research capacity and capability across the allied health and health science professional workforce in WA

The Disability portfolio focusses on the Health disability interface to support equitable, effective and safe health care for people with disability, and to aid effective transitions from Health to community-based disability services.

Current key activities within this portfolio include:

  • Implementing Sustainable Health Review Recommendation 15 in regard to improving healthcare for people with disability
  • Convening the Disability Health Reference Group
  • Ready to Go Home project (in partnership with National Disability Services)
  • Involvement in the interagency Long Stay Working Group (including data collection) 
  • Clinical input in regard to Disability-Related Health Supports
  • Coordinating clinical responses to disability-focussed activities such as the State Disability Strategy, Australia’s Disability Strategy, National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
Homeless health

The Homelessness Health portfolio develops strategic policy related to the often-complex health needs of people experiencing homelessness. Projects and policy developments are focussed on the interfaces between the WA health system and other agencies and sectors, aiming to provide equitable, coordinated and effective healthcare to this population.

Current key activities within this portfolio include:

  • Development of an integrated service model for people experiencing homelessness via a successful Commonwealth Health Innovation Fund grant.
  • Convening the Department of Health Homelessness Advisory group
  • Development of a Homeless Health Priority initiatives document and action plans for implementation
Profile projects

Ready to Go Home Project

A three-year project funded through the Department of Social Services (Mainstream Capacity Building grants) in partnership with National Disability Services in WA focussing on:

  • addressing delays to hospital discharge for people with a disability
  • improving the hospital experience   
  • improving the interface between health and disability (community) services

The target group are people with disability aged 18-64 years, NDIS participants, experiencing a delay in discharge from hospital to home. The project commenced in April 2020 and concludes in July 2023.

Lymphoedema Garment and Allied Health Therapies Program

The Lymphoedema Garment and Allied Health Therapies program was announced by the Commonwealth Department of Health in March 2020. A Project Agreement was negotiated between Western Australia and the Commonwealth.

The overarching program objectives are:  

  • To increase access to Lymphoedema compression garments in Western Australia.  
  • To contribute to activities that promote increased access to allied health professionals appropriately trained in the prescription of compression garments for lymphoedema; and  
  • To contribute activities that increase access to allied health professionals to enable the timely assessment of patients requiring compression garments.  

An example of projects supported by the program is the WA Health Prospective Surveillance Model of Care (PSM) Pilot Project for Early Detection of Lymphoedema. The PSM pilot is being undertaken by the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Departments at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in collaboration with CAHO and involves the monitoring of pre-clinical changes in oedema to upper limbs post breast and regional nodal surgeries following a diagnosis of breast cancer. Where indicated patient are referred to the Occupational Therapy Lymphoedema Clinic service for early intervention.

Sustainable Health Review

The Sustainable Health Review prioritised the delivery of patient-centred, high quality and financially sustainable healthcare across the State. This report puts forward eight Enduring Strategies and 30 Recommendations which seek to drive a cultural and behavioural shift across the health system.

Sustainable Health Review Progress

The CAHO, together with the other members of the Department of Health’s Chief Health Professions Forum, are responsible for leading Sustainable Health Review Recommendation 25.

Implement contemporary workforce roles and scope of practice where there is a proven record of supporting better health outcomes and sustainability

Employment opportunities

All WA Health Allied Health and Health Science employment vacancies are advertised online. You can view vacancies, apply online and sign up for email alerts so that you are notified when any suitable jobs are advertised.

Search our jobs

More information

Chief Allied Health Office (CAHO)
GPO Building,Level 3, 3 Forrest Place, Perth
Phone: (08) 6373 2309
Mail to: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre WA 6849

Last reviewed: 28-02-2022
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Chief Allied Health Office