Australia currently has a workforce shortage of general practitioners,1 particularly in rural areas.2–4 Decreasing working hours and feminisation of the workforce3,5 will exacerbate these shortages in coming years. The Australian Federal Government plans to increase general practice training places from 700 in 2010, to 1200 per year by 20146 to address this shortage.
The general practice workforce required for Australia in the
future will depend on many factors, including geographic
areas and patient utilisation of general practice services.
This article examines the current and future general
practice workforce requirements by way of an analysis
of geographic areas accounting for differing patient
The results showed that, compared with major cities,
inner regional areas had 24.4% higher expected patient
general practice utilisation per general practitioner, outer
regional 33.2%, and remote/very remote 21.4%. Balanced
distribution would mean 1129 fewer GPs in major cities:
639 more in inner regional, 423 more in outer regional
and 66 more in remote/very remote. With the population
projected to increase 18.6–26.1% by 2020, expected general
practice utilisation will increase by 27.0–33.1%.
Initiatives addressing general practice workforce shortages
should account for increasing general practice utilisation
due to the aging population, or risk exacerbating the
unequal distribution of general practice services.
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