National mental health report 2013

Size and composition of the workforce in state and territory mental health services

Page last updated: 2013

Between 1992-93 and 2010-11, the direct care workforceB in state and territory mental health services increased by 72% (see Figure 14). This is equivalent to 10,208 full-time staff.

Figure 15 summarises this trend at a national level, showing that the number of full-time equivalent direct care staff rose from 80.1 per 100,000 in 1992-93 to 108.1 per 100,000 in 2010-11. Although all jurisdictions increased the overall size of their respective workforces during this period, New South Wales reported the most growth (52%), followed by Tasmania (47%) and Queensland (43%). More detail on individual jurisdictions' growth can be found in Part 4.

The growth in the direct care workforce in state and territory mental health services equates to a 35% increase when population size is taken into account.

Table 3 summarises the composition of the mental health professional workforce since 1994-95, the year for which a breakdown by provider types first became available. It shows that all provider groups have expanded under the Strategy, but there has been a shift in the professional staffing mix. The numbers of allied health professionals grew the most (120%), followed by medical practitioners (106%) and then nurses (54%). In 2010-11, nurses accounted for 64% of the mental health professional workforce, allied health professionals for 24% and medical practitioners for 12%. This represents a drop of 7% for nurses as a percentage of the total state and territory workforce and an increase of 5% for allied health professionals, reflecting a move to develop multi-disciplinary community services.

Nationally, increases in spending by states and territories on inpatient and community-based services were greater than the work force growth in these settings. Figure 16 shows that by 2010-11, when the direct care workforce had grown 72% compared with the baseline year, recurrent expenditure had increased by 119%.

There are various reasons why higher spending may not translate into proportionally equivalent numbers of staff, and these may have a differential impact in different jurisdictions. These include, for example, rising labour costs and increases in overhead and infrastructure (including training and support) costs. Top of page

Figure 14: Number of direct care staff (FTE) employed in state and territory mental health service delivery, 1992-93 to 2010-11

Refer to the following text for a text equivalent of Figure 14: Number of direct care staff  (FTE) employed in state and territory mental health service delivery, 1992-93  to 2010-11

Text version of figure 14

Number of direct care staff (FTE) employed in state and territory mental health service delivery:
  • 1992-93 Baseline year - 14,084
  • 1993-94 - 13,851
  • 1994-95 - 14,112
  • 1995-96 - 14,378
  • 1996-97 - 15,091
  • 1997-98 End 1st plan - 15,151
  • 1998-99 - 15,783
  • 1999-2000 - 16,180
  • 2000-01 - 16,668
  • 2001-02 - 17,551
  • 2002-03 End 2nd plan - 17,946
  • 2003-04 - 18,566
  • 2004-05 - 19,293
  • 2005-06 - 20,403
  • 2006-07 - 21,216
  • 2007-08 End 3rd plan - 21,974
  • 2008-09 - 22,769
  • 2009-10 - 23,275
  • 2010-11 Mid 4th plan - 24,292 Top of page

Figure 15: Number of direct care staff (FTE) employed in state and territory mental health service delivery per 100,000, 1992-93 to 2010-11

Refer to the following text for a text equivalent of Figure 15: Number of direct care staff  (FTE) employed in state and territory mental health service delivery per 100,000, 1992-93 to 2010-11

Text version of figure 15

FTE per 100,000:
  • 1992-93 Baseline year - 80
  • 1993-94 - 78
  • 1994-95 - 79
  • 1995-96 - 79
  • 1996-97 - 82
  • 1997-98 End 1st plan - 81
  • 1998-99 - 84
  • 1999-2000 - 85
  • 2000-01 - 86
  • 2001-02 - 90
  • 2002-03 End 2nd plan - 91
  • 2003-04 - 93
  • 2004-05 - 95
  • 2005-06 - 99
  • 2006-07 - 102
  • 2007-08 End 3rd plan - 103
  • 2008-09 - 105
  • 2009-10 - 105
  • 2010-11 Mid 4th plan - 108 Top of page

Table 3: Change in the health professional workforce (FTE) in state and territory mental health services, 1994-95 to 2010-11a

Table 3 has been split into 4 parts in this online version. It is a single table in the PDF version.

Medical

1994-95 (mid 1st plan)1997-98 (end 1st plan)2002-03 (end 2nd plan)2007-08 (end 3rd plan)2010-11 (mid 4th plan)
Consultant psychiatrists
560
657
753
1,094
1,355
Psychiatry registrars and trainees
568
659
882
1,102
1,259
Other medical officers
273
303
284
329
271
Total medical
1,401
1,619
1,920
2,525
2,885

Nursing

1994-95 (mid 1st plan)1997-98 (end 1st plan)2002-03 (end 2nd plan)2007-08 (end 3rd plan)2010-11 (mid 4th plan)
Registered nurses
8,318
8,504
9,649
11,405
12,592
Enrolled nurses
1,262
1,323
1,663
2,166
2,196
Total nursing
9,580
9,827
11,312
13,571
14,788

Allied health

1994-95 (mid 1st plan)1997-98 (end 1st plan)2002-03 (end 2nd plan)2007-08 (end 3rd plan)2010-11 (mid 4th plan)
Psychologists
696
1,024
1,417
1,741
1,810
Social workers
759
975
1,233
1,563
1,867
Occupational therapists
525
548
697
859
1,038
Other allied health professionals
546
624
779
864
845
Total allied health
2,527
3,171
4,125
5,027
5,560

Total

  • 1994-95 (mid 1st plan) - 13,508
  • 1997-98 (end 1st plan) - 14,617
  • 2002-03 (end 2nd plan) - 17,357
  • 2007-08 (end 3rd plan) - 21,122
  • 2010-22 (mid 4th plan) - 23,232

a Totals differ slightly from those in figure 14 because they do not include other personal care staff and do include a small number of staff employed at the organisational level.

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Figure 16: Growth in service expenditure compared with growth in direct care staff (FTE), 1992-93 to 2010-11

Refer to the following table for a text equivalent of Figure 16: Growth in service expenditure compared with growth in direct care staff (FTE), 1992-93 to 2010-11

Text version of figure 16

Direct care staff (%)Expenditure (%)
1992-93 Baseline year
0
0
1993-94
-2
-1
1994-95
0
4
1995-96
2
9
1996-97
7
15
1997-98
8
18
1998-99
12
22
1999-2000
15
27
2000-01
18
33
2001-02
25
40
2002-03
27
48
2003-04
32
54
2004-05
37
63
2005-06
45
71
2006-07
51
81
2007-08
56
91
2008-09
62
101
2009-10
65
109
2010-11
72
119

B 'Direct care staff' include those within the health professional categories of 'medical', 'nursing', 'allied health' and 'other personal care'.