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Articles on Health workforce

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The budget has introduced a $7 co-payment for visits to the general practitioners. Dave Hunt/AAP

Federal budget 2014: health experts react

The Abbott government has announced a A$20 billion medical research “future fund”, to help discover what Treasurer Joe Hockey calls the “cures of the future”, paid for with money generated as a result…
Replacing registered and enrolled nurses with lower-skilled workers leads to poorer patient outcomes. DIBP images

Replacing registered nurses isn’t the answer to rising health costs

A shortage of qualified nursing staff and rising health costs have led to an increase in the employment of unregulated nursing workers. In 2012, the average weekly salary for full-time nursing professionals…
Australia already has a category of nurse specialists who can prescribe some medicines – nurse practitioners. Burlingham/Shutterstock

Leave prescribing to doctors and nurse practitioners

We started the week with a new proposal by the Grattan Institute to shake up the hospital workforce and allow nurses to take on more roles traditionally performed by doctors. But should registered nurses…
Health care is one of the top three issues of concern for Australian voters, but it has received little attention in this election campaign. Esther Simpson

Absence of health issues on election agenda bodes ill for much-needed reform

So far in this election campaign, the Coalition has provided dollar promises for worthy projects but no new health policy initiatives. The government has mentioned one policy of note – to remove family…
Worrying about the number of medical intern places means we have lost sight of health priorities. Al Power

Should medical intern policy just be about numbers of places?

The issue of training places for new medical graduates was again in the news last week when Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced A$8 million to expand medical intern places in rural private hospitals…
Our man from Boston: Don Berwick (left) has had some things to say about the NHS. Wikimedia Commons/HHSgov

Creating new criminal offences won’t help NHS patients

One of US President Barack Obama’s key health advisers has just published a review in the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal. Don Berwick’s review is both thoughtful and reflective but…
Universities could be oversupplying graduates in a number of key health fields. Graduate image from

Too many graduates, not enough jobs: universities, profits and clinical need

What if, after several years of studying in an intense degree program, you graduate only to find no jobs within your field? Since 2012, public universities have been allowed to determine the number of…
One-third of rural patients wait 24 hours or longer for an urgent GP appointment. Image from

Country practice: recruiting doctors to work in the bush

If you live far from a city, you are likely to be in poorer health than your urban counterparts; you’re also less likely to use health-care services and if you do, you’ll have to wait longer for care…
The current fee-for-service model makes it difficult to contain costs and boost the quality of care. Image from

Phase out GP consultation fees for a better Medicare

In the fourth part of our series Health Rationing, Peter Sivey explains why it might be time to abandon Medicare’s fee-for-service model. Teachers aren’t paid a fee for each lesson they teach, nor are…
The recent rise in the number of GPs could be welcomed as addressing the shortage. Image from

Is the national doctor shortage a myth?

Monash University demographer Bob Birrell is quoted in today’s Australian newspaper as saying the national doctor shortage is “a myth”. He points out a large recent increase in the number of GPs, a rise…
The children with the greatest level of disease also have the poorest access to care. Image from

Filling the gaps in Australia’s dental workforce

Data released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show the number of dentists has increased by 24% in the five years to 2011. There are now around 12,700 dentists in Australia, with…
Taxpayers should get something in return for their investment – good doctors, where they’re needed. UoNottingham

Medical intern crisis won’t be solved with just more hospital places

Almost two hundred medical students from diverse countries have just finished their medical education as full-fee-paying students. They’re now looking for the one year of employment (internship) they need…
It’s time to rethink Australia’s specialist-driven health workforce and rise to the challenge of chronic disease management. Hands image from

Hike in health costs should prompt workforce rethink

Data released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows the nation’s health care bill is rising rapidly, from $77.5 billion in 2000-2001 to $130 billion in 2010-11. The largest increases…

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