A triangulated approach was taken during the review process which was designed to provide extensive analysis of all Australian Government health workforce programs funded to enable a robust report.
The three major activities undertaken were:
- Analysis of each individual program/activity managed by Health Workforce Division – and other workforce programs implemented by other divisions within the department;
- Research and develop a series of papers including ‘context papers’ written to provide background on health workforce issues. Also undertake a literature review of all relevant program evaluations, reports and parliamentary inquiry reports; and
- Consultations with stakeholders which included interviews, written submissions and roundtable discussions aimed at identifying health workforce issues and program delivery concerns.
- Strategic alignment – to what extent is the activity consistent with government policy priorities;
- Integration – how the program fits within the policy and operating environment – how the program interacts with other programs.;
- Appropriateness – reason for government intervention and the choice of policy instrument;
- Performance assessment – measure (where data was available) the outcomes against the program objectives;
- Effectiveness – how well the program outcomes are meeting the stated program objectives; and
- Efficiency – how effective are resources used to deliver program outcomes.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce;
- Allied Health Workforce;
- Dental Workforce;
- National Health Education;
- Nursing Workforce;
- Private Health care;
- Rural Health Education;
- Rural Workforce; and
During this phase, analysis was undertaken to scope out the health workforce programs that are currently being funded. This included gathering details of program objectives and outcomes, funding arrangements and perceived stakeholder support for each program.
Each program was assessed against a number of criteria to analyse the extent to which funding was being used effectively to deliver government services aimed at addressing health workforce issues.
The program assessment criteria included the level to which the program met the following criteria:
The research phase was mostly a data gathering exercise to gain an understanding of current and future priorities, trends and issues as well as projections of future workforce needs through workforce data. Evaluations of current programs were sourced from public and internal program evaluations and recommendations as well as relevant parliamentary inquires. A list of major evaluations is provided at Appendix vii.
Summaries of research findings were presented as context and issues papers to provide detailed background information and highlight continuing health workforce issues and workforce requirements.
The final phase was in accordance with the Review’s terms of reference, enabling stakeholders to have the opportunity to contribute to the review process. A series of themed stakeholder roundtable meetings, working groups and one on one consultations were held between October and December 2012 to ensure extensive stakeholder engagement in the review.
A broad range of stakeholders were invited to participate across a number of peak organisations including program fund-holders and within the department.
Stakeholder consultation list
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Board of Australia
Allied Health Professions Australia
Australasian Council of Dental Schools
Australian and New Zealand Council of Chief Nurses
Australian Association of Occupational Therapists
Australian Association of Practice Managers
Australian Association of Social Workers
Australian College of Midwives
Australian College of Nursing
Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
Australian Council of Pro Vice-Chancellors and Deans of Health Science
Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association
Australian Dental Association
Australian Dental Council
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Australian Indigenous Doctors Association
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian Institute of Radiography
Australian Medical Association
Australian Medical Council
Australian Medical Students Association
Australian Medicare Local Alliance
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council
Australian Nursing Federation
Australian Physiotherapy Association
Australasian Podiatry Council
Australian Private Hospitals Association
Australian Psychological Society
Australian Rotary Health
Australian Rural Health Education Network
Australian Society of Ophthalmologists
Baptist Community Services
Catholic Health Australia
Coalition of National Nursing Organisations
Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges
Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils
Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses
Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia
Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (Australia and New Zealand)
CRANAPlus - Council of Remote Area Nurses
Dental Board of Australia
Dental Hygienists Association of Australia
Department of Regional Australia, Local Governments, Arts and Sport
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
Dietitians Association of Australia
Federation of Australian Rural Medical Educators
General Practice Education and Training Ltd
General Practice Registrars Australia
Group of Eight Deans in Medicine
Health Consumers of Rural and Remote Australia
Health Workforce Australia
Health Workforce Principal Committee
Health Workforce Queensland
Indigenous Allied Health Australia
James Cook University
Kidney Health Australia
La Trobe University
Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand
Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
National Rural Health Alliance
National Rural Health Students Network
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit
Optometrists Association of Australia
Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Remote Vocational Training Scheme
Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Rural Doctors Association of Australia
Rural Health Education Foundation
Rural Health Workforce Australia
Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
Speech Pathology Australia
University of Melbourne
University of Sydney
The stakeholder roundtable meetings were divided into the following themes to ensure focused discussions:
At the roundtable discussions, each organisation delivered a brief presentation outlining their role, key workforce policy priorities and their views on the development of current workforce programs. At the end of each roundtable session the outcomes were summarised and have been documented at Appendix x.
Working groups were also convened to discuss both the rural classification system (Australian Standard Geographic Classification – Remoteness Areas) and the Districts of Workforce Shortage classification system. Through these working groups, stakeholders were given the opportunity to identify and discuss issues regarding the classification systems that are currently being used to guide health workforce policy and program development.
State and territory governments were provided with an opportunity to provide views through the Health Workforce Principal Committee meeting on 15 November 2012. Some states also provided written submissions, as listed at Appendix xi.
In addition to the above consultations, an opportunity was provided for written submissions to be lodged through the Review’s website, with a total of 26 submissions being received from various organisations. These submissions are listed at Appendix xi.
A departmental reference group also contributed to the review process and included representatives of divisions including Acute Care, Ageing and Aged Care, Primary and Ambulatory Care, Mental Health and Chronic Disease and the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. The Department’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer also participated, along with the Principal Medical Adviser for Acute Care and Health Workforce Divisions, as a representative of the Chief Medical Officer.