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Australia’s broad health outcomes compare favourably with those of similarly developed countries. Total spending on health care, while around 10 per cent of GDP and rising, is also comparable. In no small part, these outcomes are due to the expertise and commitment of the health workforce and to the efforts of the health and education and training sectors more generally.

Nonetheless, there continue to be poor health outcomes in particular regions and for particular groups. Workforce shortages, and inflexibilities and inefficiencies in workplace arrangements, are major contributors to these problems. Looking ahead, growing demand and tightening labour supply will add to the pressures on Australia’s health system and its workforce.

This research study, commissioned by CoAG, reviews a range of workforce issues. These include: factors affecting the future supply of, and demand for, health workers; the efficiency and effectiveness with which the available workforce is deployed; and what reforms to health workforce arrangements might be undertaken to improve access across the community to quality and safe health care. 

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