We would like a breakdown of the number of health professionals in Australia. How many GPs How many privately practising Specialists? How many Allied Health Professionals across different disciplines (physios, psychologists, audiologists, etc.)?
Thank you for asking Wonder about a breakdown of the number of health professionals in Australia.
The short answer is the total number of health professionals in Australia based on 2015 and 2014 data is 569,926, and I have provided a breakdown of the numbers below. However, I was unable to find a breakdown for privately practicing specialists. Below you will find a deep dive into this answer.
I relied on the official Australian government statistics for this report. Most of the statistics were last updated at different times in 2016. However, the data is based on 2014 registered professionals statistics, except data on medical practitioners and nurses and midwives that are based on 2015 numbers. The total number of healthcare professionals given on the website is 610,148, but this is based purely on 2014 data. For the total number of healthcare professionals in Australia presented in this research, I used the updated 2015 numbers presented on the website for medical practitioners and nurses and midwives.
1) Total number of nurses and midwives (2015) — 307,104
2) Total number of medical practitioners (2015) — 102,805
2a) Total number of medical practitioners that are GPs (2015) — 34,367
2b) Total number of medical practitioners that are GPs and specialists (2015) — 49,060
2c) Total number of medical practitioners that are specialists (2015) — 8,386
3) Total number of psychologists (2014) — 31,489
4) Total number of pharmacists (2014) — 28,751
5) Total number of physiotherapists (2014) — 27,011
6) Total number of dentists (2014) — 15,764
7) Total number of dental hygienists (2014) — 1,645
8) Total number of dental prosthetists (2014) — 1,223
9) Total number of dental therapists (2014) — 1,223
10) Total number of oral health therapists (2014) — 1,120
11) Total number of occupational therapists (2014) — 16,757
12) Total number of optometrists (2014) — 4,855
13) Total number of chiropractors (2014) — 4,902
14) Total number of medical radiation practitioners (2014) — 14,680
15) Total number of osteopaths (2014) — 1,968
16) Total number of podiatrists (2014) — 4,316
17) Total number of Chinese medicine practitioners (2014) — 4,313
18) Total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners (2014) — 322
Using the updated 2015 numbers for medical practitioners and nurses and midwives, the total number of health professionals in Australia is 569,926 (I got the number by adding all the numbers above), compared to 610,148 based on purely 2014 data. This is because although the number of medical practitioners increased from 98,807 in 2014 to 102,805 in 2015, the total number of nurses and midwives decreased from 352,838 in 2014 to 307,104 in 2015.
The breakdown of medical practitioners that work in the private and public sector is not provided on the Australian government website, however, according to the latest study on the breakdown I could find, 45% of all medical practitioner in Australia worked in the public sector in 2010. The study didn't provide a breakdown of the specialists working in the private sector specifically, but it notes that apart from GPs, three-quarter of all hospital non-specialists, specialists, and specialists in training work in the public sector. This means that a quarter of all those specialists work in the private sector. If we use this estimate, it would mean that about 2,013 of the 8,386 specialists in Australia work in the private sector (1/4 * 8,386). The report notes that some of the doctors employed in the public sector also work in the private sector but that specific national data is unavailable. However, according to this 2016 study, specialists spend majority of their time in the private sector, with surgical specialists spending less than 30% of their time in the public sector.
After an extensive search, I couldn't find a breakdown of specialists that are employed in private sector as against those that are self-employed or have a private practice.
To wrap it up, the total number of health professionals in Australia based on 2015 and 2014 data is 569,926. I have provided a breakdown above.
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