Final Annual Report - Health Workforce Australia

Building Capacity

Page last updated: 18 May 2015

National Statistical Resource

The National Statistical Resource provides health-related workforce, training and activity data. The resource was used by HWA for its workforce planning and projections and is publicly available for other health workforce planners and researchers across Australia to use.

The resource has two components:

  • The online Health Workforce Data tool allows users to create their own tables, maps and graphs using the National Health Workforce Data Set and the Clinical Placements Data Collection; and
  • The health workforce planning tool projects the health workforce needed to meet the nation’s healthcare requirements.

National Medical Training Advisory Network

The NMTAN was established in response to Health Workforce 2025 – Doctors Nurses and Midwives (HW2025), to provide advice on the planning and coordination of medical training, from university training through to vocational training. This network will focus on the health needs of the community and give advice on models of care and addressing of current misdistribution of health workforce. The NMTAN has 22 representatives from a broad range stakeholder groups. The Department of Health assumed responsibility for the support and managemFent of this group in August 2014.

In addition to the three publications listed below, that include supply and demand modelling and projections, HWA undertook a number of studies that reported on the data captured in the National Statistical Resource. These are aimed at simply identifying these workforce components.

These building capacity publications and projections were developed to better support and expand the health workforce.

Australia’s Future Health Workforce (AFHW)

In 2012, HW2025 was published, using data from the national statistical resource and modelling a number of scenarios. During the Reporting Period HWA undertook work to develop one AFHW series, using updated data and scenarios and more recent information provided by the national statistical resources tool. The three publications listed below in the AFHW series aimed to provide modelling and projections to assist medium to long term national workforce planning to create a sustainable health workforce.


This report followed the findings of the HW2025 publication and focused on medical workforce projections, utilising the expert advice from NMTAN.


This report focused on nursing workforce characteristics and projections, data from this report was used in the HW2025 publication and included additional examples.

Oral Health report

The AFHW– Oral Health report provides the results of oral health workforce planning projections for the period 2012 to 2025. The report presents separate workforce planning projections for dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, oral health therapists and dental prosthetists.

Australia’s Health Workforce Series

Each study in this series focused on a different health profession, in order to develop an understanding of existing medical, nursing and allied health workforces and their characteristics.

Health Informaticians Specialist Workforce Study

The Health Informaticians Specialist Workforce Study examined the collection, storage and use of electronic health data and how this information can be used to better project and predict issues and pressures within the health workforce.

The collection, storage and use of electronic health data has grown rapidly and increased in complexity in recent years and this increased reliance on health information systems has driven demand for a specialised workforce of health informaticians.

HWA has undertaken analysis of the health informatics workforce to gain understanding of the composition of the workforce, the issues and pressures within the industry. The report is designed to assist with planning for the health information workforce into the future.

Ambulance officers and paramedic workforce study

The Ambulance Officer and Paramedic Workforce Study was conducted as part of HWA’s Health Workforce Planning programme. This study undertook an analysis of current workforce supply, an analysis of activity measures that could be used to project demand for services, and a set of workforce dynamics indicators used to highlight aspects of the current workforce that may be of concern into the future.

Clinical Training Funding

The Clinical Training Funding programme (CTF) was designed to expand the clinical training capacity of the health workforce in Australia.

The initial programme (2011-13) supported clinical training places across 22 health professions for professional entry students to address workforce shortages. Funding was provided to 86 agencies in the form of recurrent subsidies and one-off capital and establishment grants. Recurrent funding supported ongoing costs associated with increased clinical training, while capital and establishment grants assisted with one-off costs.

Clinical Training Funding in future years (2014-2016)

HWA commenced further funding to continue to support the CTF programme. This programme is now managed by the Department of Health.

Clinical Supervision Support Programme

The objective of the Clinical Supervision Support Programme (CSSP) was to implement reforms to expand clinical supervision capacity and competency across the education and training system by supporting measures to:

  • Prepare and train clinical supervisors; and
  • Support and develop a competent clinical supervision workforce, which delivers quality clinical training.

Released in April 2014, the National Clinical Supervision Competency Resource provides the foundation to enable the development of a consistent and transparent approach to the provision of high quality clinical supervision education and training. The resource provides a benchmark against which new and existing clinical supervisors can assess their learning needs and organisations can identify potential training gaps and requirements.

Simulated learning environments

Simulation is an educational technique that teaches and assesses health professionals’ skills, using scenarios that replicate real-life health issues. Simulation contributes to increased training capacity by enabling:

  • Students to develop skills/gain experiences to better prepare for (or optimise outcomes from) clinical placements; and
  • Exposure to a broad range of health issues that are not always available in traditional clinical placements.

HWA’s investments have developed evidence to support the use of simulation, enabled the adoption of simulation and expanded clinical training capacity in the health and education sector through the use of simulation as an education technique.

In August 2013, $17.3m of agreements were executed to fund 44 simulation capacity building projects. The funding, provided until 31 December 2014, was to deliver 910,000 hours of simulation based training hours and to appoint simulation leads in each state and territory.

Integrated Regional Clinical Training Networks

Integrated Regional Clinical Training Networks (IRCTNs) were developed to provide a mechanism to find and fund clinical training placements for eligible students to facilitate increased clinical training capacity. IRCTNs build partnerships between higher education providers and clinical training providers which aims to also increase productivity and improve distribution of clinical training at a local level.

Twenty-eight IRCTNs operated during the Reporting Period across Australia to:

  • Build additional capacity in the clinical training system where required;
  • Identify ways of better utilising existing capacity; and
  • Increase clinical training activity in primary care, community and mental health, aged care, the private sector and rural and remote locations.

IRCTNs have supported the roll out of the CSSP and the Simulated Learning Environments programme throughout the Reporting Period, by providing advice on local needs and monitoring of performance.

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