Report on the Audit of Health Workforce in Rural and Regional Australia

1.8 Stakeholder evidence

Page last updated: April 2008

Consultations with stakeholders indicate that there are system wide shortages in rural and remote Australia. They highlight the reliance in these areas on overseas trained doctors and the challenges this creates for service delivery in rural and remote Australia. Stakeholders also emphasised the lack of support for overseas trained doctors in terms of training and orientation to the Australian health system and culture.

In addition to concerns about current workforce shortages, stakeholders highlighted their concerns about the ageing of the current health workforce. The medical, nursing and dental workforces have a high average age and retirement patterns will mean that shortages of these professions can be expected to be exacerbated in the coming years if current recruitment patterns continue.

Stakeholders also reiterated concerns regarding the ability of the health workforce to keep pace with increasing demands due to population growth and ageing, and greater expectations of health care. They expressed the need to increase training places for more health professionals for the future, especially GPs and specialists. They also emphasised the need for better incentives for all health professionals to work in rural and remote locations and greater investment in innovative solutions undertaken in partnership with state and territory governments.