The prediction as early as 2019 has transpired, with the latest statistics (01 April 2021-30 June 2021) showing there are 40,973 registered GPs (1) to service a population of around 25,825,438.
Those figures equate to one GP per approximately 630 people across rural, remote, and metropolitan areas of Australia.
Compare this to 12 months previous where there were more GPs (44,574) to service a lower population (25,687,041).
What can we do to lessen the impact on our communities?
An aging population, an increase in rates of chronic disease (3) and the inability to recruit overseas trained doctors have been deemed the main factors of increased pressure on our health system. This aside, there is a cry to implement strategies immediately to ensure services are accessible and patients receive the best care possible in our hospitals and clinics.
We are seeing the emergence and increase in urgent care health facilities, aimed at taking the pressure off our emergency departments, providing 24-hour emergency care services in local communities.
Health Hubs provide convenience and affordability in healthcare. With patients having access to specialist, allied and general health under one roof their experience is enhanced through time and cost-saving.
Smaller GP clinics are on the decline, centres with 10 or more GPs are on the increase. Patients are having to wait weeks for an appointment at their regular smaller clinic, if they can access another clinic with less of a wait time and receive a quality experience their loyalty at the existing is bygone.
We see a trend in additional and alternative health services but the shortfall in the recruitment of GPs isn’t set to disappear anytime soon.
Project Consultant at Interite Healthcare Interiors, Luke Sharpe, said “The current situation is extremely frustrating for Practice Owners. They are driven to create the right medical space for their patients through interior design and fitout however are really struggling to obtain and retain talent to service their communities”. Luke hopes that Practice Owners can get the government support they need to keep their doors open and provide an essential service to people in need.
The Australian Government is investing $972.5 million to ensure the country has a skilled and professional health workforce necessary to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians (4).
The WA government has announced a $1.9 billion additional contribution in the next budget, which includes the recruitment of doctors and nurses in hospitals.
Some have critiqued the plans, saying that it needs further clarity and strategies are not immediate enough to fix the problems at hand, now.
Our Doctors and Nurses are exhausted, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has placed an extraordinary amount of pressure on both the professionals in the sector and on our health system. If the last 18 months have taught the Australian people anything, it has been to band together and persevere.
If you are seeking to provide accessible healthcare services to your community, please reach out to our team on (08) 9354 0111 or [email protected].
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(1) Medical Board of Australia, reporting period 01 April 2021 to 30 June 2021
(2) Medical Board of Australia, reporting period 01 April 2020 to 30 June 2020
(3) The Australian Department of Health, ‘The Australian Health System’
(4) The Australian Department of Health, Budget 2021-22