Improving knowledge and data about the medical workforce underpins healthy communities and doctors

Helen I Keen, Claire Barrett and Catherine Hill
Med J Aust 2022; 216 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51365
Published online: 17 January 2022

To the Editor: As members of the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA), we read with great interest the recent article by Russell and colleagues.1 The organisation has long been concerned that current training pathways and health care resourcing are resulting in a discordance between rheumatology health care supply in Australia and community needs. ARA believes the rheumatology workforce is in significant undersupply, ageing and largely focused in cities, and that our current training programs will not deal with these issues. A 2018 ARA survey of members found that 41% of respondents (of which 54.5% work at rural and remote clinics) plan to retire in the next 10 years.2 Our concerns are supported by Western Australian data3 reporting a critical shortfall of rheumatologists that trainee throughput will not address.

  • Helen I Keen1,2,3
  • Claire Barrett4
  • Catherine Hill5,6,7

  • 1 Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, WA
  • 2 Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, WA
  • 3 University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
  • 4 Redcliffe and Northside Rheumatology, Brisbane, QLD
  • 5 Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide, SA
  • 6 Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA
  • 7 University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA


Competing interests:

Helen Keen has received educational support form AbbVie and Roche, and speaker’s fees from Roche, Sanofi and Jansen. Her unit conducts clinical trials with Abbvie, Sanofi, Sun and Emerald.


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