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:
- have completed an approved medical course
- follow a nationally consistent law that has been passed in all states and territories
- follow guidelines and codes of conducts
- undertake annual professional development in line with the standards set by your specialist medical college
- be registered with the Medical Board of Australia, which regulates the profession and monitors continuing professional development.
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:
- Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD)
- Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM)
- Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP)
- Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA)
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
- Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (Ahpra)
- Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA)
- Australian Medical Association (AMA)
- College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM)
- Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (MDANZ)
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
- Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA)
- Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)
- Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG)
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO)
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR)
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
- Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA)
- Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).