Australia’s health system is facing significant challenges, including an ageing population and an ageing health workforce; changing burden of disease, in particular a growing level of chronic disease; and increased demand for health services with higher numbers of people requiring complex and long-term care. To achieve Health Workforce Australia (HWA)'s goal of building a sustainable health workforce that meets Australia's health care needs, health workforce planning is essential – and in health workforce planning, understanding the number and characteristics of the existing health workforce is the essential first step.
Australia’s Health Workforce Series is designed to focus on describing particular professions, settings and issues of interest to aid workforce planning. This issue of Australia’s Health Workforce Series examines Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers / Practitioners, bringing together available information to describe the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker / Practitioner workforce, including number and characteristics, potential data sources to measure workforce activity, and an analysis based on information presented.
This publication is divided into four main parts:
1. What is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker / Practitioner – a brief overview of the roles and training pathways, and descriptions of the key regulatory bodies and peak associations.
2. What we know about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker / Practitioner workforce – presentation of data from different sources, describing the number and characteristics of the workforce, inflows into the workforce, and potential data sources that could be used to measure workforce activity.
3. What issues are expected to impact supply and/or demand for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers / Practitioners – a summary of issues obtained through stakeholder consultation.
4. HWA’s assessment of the workforce – which includes an assessment of existing workforce position (whether workforce supply matches demand for services or not); presentation of a set of workforce dynamics indicators, used to highlight aspects of the current workforce that may be of concern into the future; and a comparison of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker / Practitioner workforce’s key characteristics with other health workforces.