Unleashing the potential of our health workforce: Review response

Friday, August 25, 2023

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, of the Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce Review.

The Review is one of the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce and will focus on how to assist health practitioners in working to the full scope of their skills and training.

‘The health system can only function with a strong and effective workforce, and ensuring a sustainable supply and appropriate skill-mix will require effective cooperation and governance across multiple sectors,’ says AHHA Chief Executive Kylie Woolcock.

‘Globally, debates have typically focused on achieving the required density and distribution of health professionals. However, this has occurred in professional silos, with limited attention to the team composition and skill-mix requirements, and without consideration of the impact on productivity.’

‘Further, planning for the health workforce is typically not integrated with planning for health care services and health care funding, despite any one of these functions having implications for the other.

‘We want to see this review enable a national framework for more sophisticated, place-based health workforce planning that goes beyond the adequacy and distribution of the workforce as it currently exists.

‘It needs to consider how to incorporate clinical roles, non-clinical roles and digital innovations to pursue outcomes-focused and value-based changes in scopes of practice that meet the healthcare needs of Australians.

‘The review will need to consider how to enable team-based models of care linked to regional needs assessments and population health planning. Effective clinical governance will be needed to support each team member to work to the top of their scope of practice confidently.

‘Additionally, there should be a focus on how to best support and resource clinician leadership to collectively and critically evaluate full care pathways, including how they intersect with health and social care.’

AHHA welcomes the appointment of Professor Mark Cormack, who will lead the independent review and looks forward to contributing to the review as it progresses.

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) is the independent peak membership body and advocates for the Australian healthcare system and a national voice for universally accessible, high-quality healthcare in Australia.

Media enquiries: Kylie Woolcock, Chief Executive, AHHA
0410 625 830