Medical doctors and specialists in Australia

There are more than 104,000 medical doctors and specialists in Australia. They must abide by national legislation, guidelines and codes of conduct. They must also register with a national board and do relevant professional development every year.

Medical doctor and specialist workforce

In Australia, in 2020, there were more than 104,000 medical practitioners. Of those:

  • more than 31,000 were general practitioners (GPs)
  • more than 36,000 were specialists
  • more than 80,000 worked in major cities
  • almost 20,000 worked in regional areas
  • almost 1,500 worked in remote and very remote areas
  • about 46,000 worked in hospitals
  • about 35,000 worked in group private practices
  • 43% were women, but this is on the increase, with 51% of new medical graduates being women
  • about 70% became qualified in Australia
  • almost 45% were born in Australia.

Medical doctor and specialist laws and regulation

The health workforce is highly regulated to support safe high-quality care to patients.

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) regulates 16 health professions. It has systems to support quality standards and enable complaints and investigations for poor quality care.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) works with the Medical Board of Australia to implement the NRAS. 

You can search their national register to see whether a doctor is registered.

To work as a medical practitioners and specialists in Australia, you must:

Medical doctor and specialist registration

Depending on training and experience, medical doctors and specialists can apply for different types of medical registration. These are:

The Medical Board of Australia has details on registration types and how to apply for them.

Medical doctor and specialist organisations

Professional associations that represent medical doctors and specialists include:

Last updated: 
25 November 2021

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.