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

General practitioners

Page last updated: April 2008

Table 2.3.1 General practitioners: Total number by state/territory and Remoteness Area, 2006-07

Table 2.3.1 shows the number of GPs by state/territory and Remoteness Area taken from Medicare data.

Major Cities

Inner Regional

Outer Regional

Remote

Very Remote

Total

NSW

6,1101,6124125038,187

VIC

4,6961,1842976-6,183

QLD

3,1201,0077501781435,198

WA

1,776257273139552,501

SA

1,50422624258232,053

TAS

-498158108674

ACT

412----412

NT

--142103109354

National

17,6194,7852,27454534125,564

Source: Medicare data

Although the picture of the availability of GPs appears from this data to be declining with remoteness, when data is examined in terms of Full-Time Work Equivalent (FWE1), considerable variations emerge across Remoteness Areas. This points to the importance of understanding the models of service delivery adopted by states and territories for service provision to their rural and remote areas.

Table 2.3.2 General practitioners: FWE per 100,000 population by state/territory and Remoteness Area, 2006-07

Table 2.3.2 presents data on the FWE rate in proportion to the population. This provides a better indication of the available supply of the general practitioner workforce. The number of GPs proportional to the population is lowest in the Northern Territory. The Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia also have a relatively low ratio of GPs proportional to their population.

Major Cities

Inner Regional

Outer Regional

Remote

Very Remote

Total

NSW

106.982.067.786.925.399.1

VIC

92.880.775.288.7-89.5

QLD

97.090.379.259.352.991.6

WA

81.065.476.161.634.976.8

SA

96.983.488.587.260.393.7

TAS

-89.966.986.4115.582.3

ACT

70.1----70.1

NT

--55.059.146.854.1

National

97.083.174.268.247.191.3

Source: Medicare data

There is a relatively even distribution of GPs, based upon FWE, across 'inner regional' areas of Australia, with the exception of Western Australia.

Lower ratios of GPs to the population of 'remote' areas of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory contrast with relatively good availability in 'remote' areas of all other jurisdictions.

The supply of GPs to 'very remote' areas of New South Wales and Western Australia is very low, at less than one-third of the total national average for all Remoteness Areas.

Information has also been analysed on the basis of RRMA, the classification system used for many Australian Government programs. Generally, these indicate that the number of FWE GPs in non-metropolitan areas has increased over the period 1984 to 2007.

1 Further definitions can be found in both the Glossary and Acronyms sections.