Australia faces a shortage of key health professionals. The Review found there are significant shortages in nursing, midwifery and medicine, both for GPs and specialists. Shortages are worse for experienced and senior professionals. The Interim Report confirms there is an urgent need to reform the current regulatory system for overseas health practitioners coming to Australia, to make it simpler, faster, fairer and less costly.
While Australian governments are committed to growing the domestic workforce, more internationally-qualified health practitioners will be required in the short to medium term.
The Interim Report identifies immediate actions that governments and regulators can take to alleviate shortages in the health workforce and ensure all Australians can access timely and appropriate health care. These actions focus on improving the applicant experience, expanding fast-track pathways, collecting better workforce data, increasing regulatory flexibility, and enhancing regulator performance and regulatory system stewardship.
The recommendations in Interim Report increase the number of health practitioners registered in Australia, while ensuring practitioners meet minimum standards and protecting the public. The reforms are expected to save overseas health practitioners and employers time and money and bring Australia’s regulatory system more into line with key international competitors, like Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.