The greatest workforce challenge Australia faces is in health, an issue that will likely be with us for another decade. Here’s one way to fix it.
Australia needs an additional 35,000 aged care workers a year. While skilled migration can play a role, it’s unlikely to be enough to fix the immediate or long-term workforce shortages.
Hospitals are struggling, with ambulances ramping outside emergency departments and patients facing long waits for care. But doing more of the same won’t fix the problem.
While demand for subsidised services is high and rising, many parts of the system need improvement. The federal budget can’t solve these problems by placing the entire burden on taxpayers.
Only a fraction of aged care homes currently have staffing levels above the new minimum ratios that will be mandatory from next year.
Devalued and paid significantly less than nurses, it’s no wonder Australia’s aged care workforce have had enough.
Around 70% of front-line health workers said they were exhausted in 2020. With COVID hospitalisations expected to rise in coming weeks, the pressure is about to get a whole lot worse.
India, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa lose thousands of trained doctors each year, lured away to work in richer countries – at great cost to their nation’s healthcare systems.
Health education curriculums need to specifically prepare healthcare professionals to respond to a pandemic when it comes to aspects like infection control, aged care and mental health.
Adequate numbers of healthy and motivated health professionals are also critical to governments’ effective responses to public health emergencies such as COVID-19.
Midlevel health workers can provide diagnostic and therapeutic services with lower entry qualification requirements and shorter training periods than doctors.
Aged care facilities are employing fewer registered and enrolled nurses and more carers, which saves money but results in sub-standard care.
The biggest system failure in aged care is staffing. We don’t need to wait until the royal commission is over to fix it – this can be done now.
Nurses and midwives are among society’s most highly valued professionals. But a disturbing national picture is emerging of escalating levels of over-work and burnout.
Nursing home providers looking to cut costs are bypassing registered nurses and employing less-skilled personal care attendants (PCAs) who aren’t trained for the job.
Highly engaged doctors do much better on a wide range of important measures, from clinical performance, financial management and safety indicators to patient experience and overall quality standards.
The proportion of female surgical trainees is rising, but at a slower rate than other specialties.
In Australia, estimates suggest undesired harmful effects from medication or other intervention such as surgery occur in around 17% of hospital admissions. But blaming the doctors won’t help.
There is substantial variation in the safety and quality of care provided in Australian hospitals. The data can tell us why.
Why is it so difficult to find out exactly how much it’s going to cost to have that suspicious mole removed or to be admitted to hospital for that colonoscopy or hip replacement?