Major cities have greatest supply of medical practitioners, while remote areas have greatest supply

The supply of medical practitioners is highest in Major cities, while the supply of nurses and midwives is highest in Very remote areas, according to information released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In 2013, 95,013 medical practitioners were registered in Australia. Of these, 82,498 were employed in medicine.

'The supply of employed practitioners across all remoteness areas has been relatively stable from 2011 to 2013,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster.

'Major cities continued to have the highest rate of supply of employed medical practitioners-at 426 full-time equivalent (FTE) medical practitioners per 100,000 people in Major cities compared to a low of 257 in Remote/Very remote areas.'

The total number of nurses and midwives registered in Australia in 2013 was 344,190.

'The supply of employed nurses and midwives varied slightly across remoteness areas, from a low of 1,111 FTE per 100,000 people in Outer regional areas to a high of 1,264 in Very remote areas,' Dr Webster said.

The overall supply of employed medical practitioners has remained steady since 2011, at about 380 FTE medical practitioners per 100,000 people.

Employed medical practitioners worked an average of 42.8 hours per week, and most (95.2%) worked in a clinical role.

The proportion of employed female medical practitioners has increased steadily since 2004. In 2013, women made up 38.6% of the medical workforce.

The average age of employed medical practitioners remained close to 48 years for men from 2004 to 2013, and rose slightly for women from just under 41 in 2004 to just over 42 in 2013.

In 2013, the overall supply of employed nurses and midwives was 1,155 FTE per 100,000 people, up from 1,118 in 2009.

Between 2009 and 2013, the supply of registered nurses and midwives rose from 917 to 971 FTE per 100,000 people, however the supply of enrolled nurses dropped from 201 to 184 FTE per 100,000 people.

Of the 296,029 employed in nursing or midwifery, 1 in 10 were men, almost 4 in 10 were aged 50 or older and 9 in 10 worked in a clinical role.

On average, employed nurses and midwives worked 34.3 hours per week in 2013, an increase of 1 hour from 2009 (33.3). In 2013, almost half (138,660 or 46.8%) worked part time (less than 35 hours per week).

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 9 September 2014

Further information: Dr Adrian Webster, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1119, mob. 0434 022 127

More information: Medical workforce 2013 web pages and Nursing and midwifery workforce web pages