The Supply of Doctors in Australia: Is There A Shortage?

Kamalakanthan, Abhaya and Jackson, Sukhan (2006) The Supply of Doctors in Australia: Is There A Shortage?. Discussion Paper No. 341, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Kamalakanthan, Abhaya
Jackson, Sukhan
Title The Supply of Doctors in Australia: Is There A Shortage?
School, Department or Centre School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status Other
Report Number Discussion Paper No. 341
Publication date 2006-05-01
Start page 1
End page 36
Total pages 37
Publisher The University of Queensland
Language eng
Subject 340204 Health Economics
340207 Labour Economics
321299 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Abstract/Summary Many countries around the world are presently reporting a shortage of doctors. To understand the situation better, this paper reviews the current English language literature on the supply of doctors in developed and developing countries with a special interest in Australia. The definition of doctor shortage and the accepted ratio of patients to full-time equivalent (FTE) doctors that is followed in this paper, is the one that is provided by the Australian Government's Department of Health and Ageing. The issue of supply imbalance with respect to doctors is one that is particularly controversial in Australia, with some policy-makers arguing that it is a problem of under-utilisation of existing doctors, not under supply. The paper focuses on the literature on (1) mobility issues relating to geographical and sectoral imbalances, (2) incentive issues (monetary and non-monetary) relating to medical specialisation imbalance and (3) government regulation issues relating to geographical, sectoral and professional specialisation imbalances. The paper offers some suggestions to deal with the problem of supply imbalance. One of the key findings is that developed countries such as Australia cannot continue to rely on foreign-born overseas trained doctors to fill the gaps in supply. Hence, to solve the medical workforce crisis, Australia will have to increase the number of doctors being trained.
Keyword doctors
health workforce
medical workforce
skills shortage
Additional Notes ISSN 1445-5523

Document type: Department Technical Report
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Economics Publications
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Created: Wed, 21 Jun 2006, 10:00:00 EST