ACEM urges other parties contesting the 2022 federal election to release their respective solutions for the range of workforce issues, to ensure that Australians get the healthcare they need, regardless of who takes office – now and into the future.
The College has been drawing attention to workforce issues across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand for years, including the lack and maldistribution of parts of the healthcare workforce – particularly nurses – and believes that solutions will need to include both short and long-term strategies.
The College supports Labor’s short-term ‘stop-gap’ plan to recruit more overseas doctors and nurses to fill the workforce gap while more sustainable solutions are being implemented, but emphasises that this must not be a long-term strategy.
ACEM also supports Labor’s pledge to deliver 465,000 fee-free TAFE places and 20,000 new university places in areas of workforce need, including nursing. This will be essential in reducing Australia’s over-reliance on recruiting overseas trained staff, which is unsustainable and can exacerbate health system pressures in other countries and worsen global health outcome inequities.
The College particularly welcomes Labor’s election pledge to train 500 additional First Nations health workers, in partnership with community-controlled and other health services. A strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce is key to delivering an equitable Australian health system.
ACEM President Dr Clare Skinner said, “There is no healthcare system without healthcare workers.”
“Right now, we simply don’t have enough healthcare staff, we don’t have enough healthcare staff in the right places, and we don’t have enough healthcare staff with expertise in the right areas. Much of our existing workforce is burnt-out and reducing work hours or leaving the sector altogether. The healthcare staffing crisis hasn’t been caused by the pandemic. Instead, COVID-19 simply exposed and worsened problems that have been building for many years.”
“Health workforce shortages are experienced across Australia, but most significantly in rural, regional and remote parts of the country.”
“Solving the workforce crisis requires massive investment, imagination and genuine leadership, and it demands solutions that solve the immediate issues and simultaneously establish sustainable workforce strategies to ensure Australians receive the healthcare they need, when and where they need it – now, and into the future.”
“We welcome Labor’s commitment to address the nation’s depleted health workforce with short-term and long-term strategies and call on all parties to reveal the details of how they will aim to solve this crisis, if they are successful in next month’s election.”
Australia’s public health system: It’s not normal. It’s not fair. It can be fixed. Read how.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857