From medical school to medical practice: a national tracking system to underpin planning for a sustainable medical workforce in Australasia

John S Humphreys, David Prideaux, Justin J Beilby and Nicholas J Glasgow
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02774.x
Published online: 7 September 2009

To provide the ongoing robust evidence needed for workforce planning, a national longitudinal study will itself need to be sustained into the future

Globally, medical workforce shortages and maldistribution are major impediments to providing accessible, sustainable and safe health care.1,2 Strategic medical workforce planning is essential for resolving this problem. This requires up-to-date, robust data to predict future trends and, most importantly, give sound insights into the underlying determinants of workforce patterns and choices for workforce participation. Many countries have sought to develop appropriate medical workforce data collection mechanisms for tracking practitioners from graduation through employment, with varying degrees of success.3,4 Rural medical workforce shortages have been the impetus for several of these collections. Experience from these highlights the importance of comprehensive, systematic and ongoing quantitative data collection, and the value of establishing a minimum data collection system from the outset of a medical education program.5-9

  • John S Humphreys1
  • David Prideaux2
  • Justin J Beilby3
  • Nicholas J Glasgow4

  • 1 School of Rural Health, Monash University, Bendigo, VIC.
  • 2 School of Medicine, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.
  • 3 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.
  • 4 Medical School, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.

Competing interests:

David Prideaux is a member of the Management Committee of MSOD and has received travel assistance to attend meetings. Nicholas Glasgow is employed by the Australian National University as Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences and Dean of the Medical School.


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