Those working in Australia’s health sector have had the chance to detail the opportunities and obstacles they face in carrying out their work.
Earlier this year health workers across the country were invited to contribute to an independent review, called Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce, that sought to ascertain the barriers limiting the country’s health professionals working to the full scope of their skills, experience and training.
It was also hoped the review would look at the available evidence that shows the good work that is being done by health workers in Australia’s primary health care system.
The review was led by Professor Mark Cormack, a highly accomplished health system and public policy executive. A former CEO of Health Workforce Australia, Professor Cormack was appointed Honorary Professor at the Australian National University (ANU) College of Health and Medicine in 2020 and has recently established the National Centre for Health Workforce Studies at ANU.
Submissions for the review closed earlier this month, with the findings to be provided to the Australian Government in the second half of 2024.
Minister for Health & Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler, says that supported by technology, innovation and multidisciplinary teams, health professionals working to their full capability can provide significant benefits to both patients and the health care system.
He says being able to work at their full potential is also important for the professional and personal development of healthcare workers – and to the ability of the workforce to attract and retain workers.
Making sure Australia optimises its health workforce across a stretched primary care sector will improve health access and equity across all communities – including regional, rural and remote areas.
“For too long, too many people in our health workforce haven’t been able to work to their full potential. Whether it is nurses, pharmacists or allied health professionals, in a global health workforce shortage we need everyone working as close as possible to the top of their scope,” he says.
Minister Butler says the submission process is the first of many opportunities for input into this “important review”.