Australia’s medical workforce is increasing in size, with new figures showing improved supply across all regions of the country. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Medical Workforce 2011 report found that between 2007 and 2011, the number of medical practitioners employed in medicine increased by just over 17% from 67 208 to 78 833. The overall supply of clinicians across all states and territories had increased 11.4% between 2007 and 2011, from 323 full-time equivalents (FTEs) per 100,000 people to 360.
AIHW spokesperson Teresa Dickinson said the supply of medical practitioners rose in all areas, including major cities (up by 60 FTEs), inner regional areas (up by 60 FTEs), outer regional areas (up by 69 FTEs) and remote/very remote areas (up by 45 FTEs).
The AIHW study provided information on the demographic and employment characteristics of medical practitioners registered in Australia in 2011. During that period, there were 87 790 medical practitioners registered in Australia and about 85% of them responded to the workforce survey.
About 94% (73 980) of employed medical practitioners were working as clinicians, of whom 34% were general practitioners, 33% were specialists, 17% were specialists-in-training and 13% were hospital non-specialists. Of those employed as non-clinicians, which made up 6% of all employed medical practitioners, more than half reported being researchers or administrators.
“Women are increasingly represented in the medical practitioner workforce, up from 34% in 2007 to 38% in 2011”, Ms Dickson said.
The average weekly hours worked by employed medical practitioners remained steady during the survey period. The report showed that, in 2011, male medical practitioners worked an average of 45.9 hours per week, while female medical practitioners worked an average of 38.7 hours per week.