National Medical Workforce Strategy

A National Medical Workforce Strategy (the Strategy) is being developed to guide long-term collaborative medical workforce planning across Australia.

Page last updated: 03 April 2020

The Strategy is being developed to:

  • Guide medical workforce planning activities at all levels of government.
  • Match the supply of GPs, non GP specialists and consultant physicians to the predicted medical service needs of the community.
  • Identify achievable, practical actions to build a sustainable, highly-trained medical workforce.

The National Medical Workforce Strategy Fact Sheet provides an overview of the Strategy’s broad objectives.

PDF version: National Medical Workforce Strategy Fact Sheet (PDF 98 KB)
Word version: National Medical Workforce Strategy Fact Sheet (Word 164 KB)

Strategy development

The Commonwealth Department of Health is developing the Strategy in collaboration with the Medical Workforce Reform Advisory Committee (MWRAC). MWRAC members include the states and territories, specialist medical colleges, and medical professional associations. MWRAC provides a national perspective to supporting medical practitioners and address workforce shortages.

On 8 March 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council endorsed development of the Strategy.

Scoping Framework

The first phase of the Strategy has seen the development of a Scoping Framework that focuses on identifying and understanding medical workforce issues that will benefit from a national approach to medical workforce planning. Consultations were held with the states and territories and a cross-section of key medical professional organisations and doctors to develop the Scoping Framework.

The Scoping Framework has identified several priority areas that the National Medical Workforce Strategy will focus on, including:

  • Improving coordination in medical workforce planning through joint decision-making and a common approach to collecting and sharing data.
  • Reducing geographic maldistribution to achieve equitable access to care for all.
  • Addressing the growing over and under supply of doctors in some specialties.
  • Ensuring doctor work-readiness, giving young doctors more exposure in the right settings.

PDF version: National Medical Workforce Strategy Scoping Framework (PDF 1722 KB)
Word version: National Medical Workforce Strategy Scoping Framework (Word 3375 KB)

Timeframes

Work to develop the Strategy commenced in mid-2019, including broad consultation to identify key strategic actions.

Additional consultations took place between late 2019 and early 2020 to gather stakeholder feedback on strategic actions.

Consultations were held in February and March 2020 to seek stakeholder feedback on potential solutions to priority workforce issues. The consultation process included forums in each state and territory, live Q&A webinars and an online survey through the Health Consultation Hub. Recordings of the consultation are available on the following pages:

Consultation webinar – 17 February 2020
Consultation webinar – 5 March 2020

As the final round of consultation is wrapping up, work to finalise the Strategy has commenced, including the development of an implementation plan. Once complete, the Strategy will be progressed through the MWRAC and COAG for formal endorsement.

Further information

As planning for the next stage of developing the Strategy is finalised, more information will be available on this webpage about next steps. Please contact healthworkforcestrategy@health.gov.au for more information.