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

International comparison

Page last updated: April 2008

The health workforce comprises approximately 10% of the Australian working population with 615,187 people identifying themselves as working in health related occupations in the ABS 2006 Census (Attachment D).

Figure 3.1 shows that in 2005, Australia had a greater number of medical practitioners per 1,000 population (2.7 per 1,000 population) than the United Kingdom (2.4 per 1,000 population) and New Zealand (2.2 per 1,000 population). However, these and other OECD countries have identified health workforce shortages as current or imminent concerns.

Graph showing an international comparison of medical practitioners, 2005.

In 2000, Australia had the second highest ratio of nurses per 1 million population or nursing density of other OECD countries at 11,726 per 1,000,000 population as shown in Figure 3.2.

Graph showing an International comparison of nurses, 2000.

In 2000, the ratio of dentists in Australia was 47.4 dentists per 100,000 population. Australia was ranked as nineteenth out of the 29 OECD countries for which this data was available7.

7 Teusner, DN & Spencer, AJ, 2003. Dental labour force, Australia 2000.