Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

Chapter 3: Ensuring a capable and qualified health workforce

Page last updated: 24 May 2013

The provision of safe and appropriate health care to the Australian community is dependent upon ensuring a capable and qualified health workforce. This is supported by the delivery of high quality education and training, and the application of consistent professional standards.

This chapter outlines the quality framework applying to health professionals, and describes, in broad terms, the Australian health education and training system. It then discusses the Commonwealth programs administered by the Health portfolio that form part of this system and investments in clinical training for health professionals, and vocational training for medical practitioners.

The Commonwealth’s role in planning and investing in health education has an increasing focus on delivering education and training that matches the nature of demand and reflects the way health services are delivered in both clinical and community settings. For this reason, a significant proportion of the Commonwealth’s investment in health education programs is directed towards those programs that are specifically targeted to rural areas, for example, the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program. These programs are dealt with in Chapter 4.

This chapter also examines the use of health education scholarships as a mechanism to promote the growth and sustainability of specific sectors of the health workforce.