Health workforce design for the 21st century Academic Article uri icon


  • The Australian health workforce has changed dramatically over the last 4 years, growing in size and changing composition. However, more changes will be needed in the future to respond to the epidemiological and demographic transition of the Australian population. A critical issue will be whether the supply of health professionals will keep pace with demand. There are current recorded shortages of most health professionals, but this paper argues that future workforce planning should not be based on providing more of the same. Rather, the roles of health professionals will need to change and workforce planning needs to place a stronger emphasis on issues of workforce substitution, that is, a different mix of responsibilities. This will also require changes in educational preparation, in particular an increased emphasis on interprofessional work and common foundation learning.

publication date

  • 2005