Data source

National Health Workforce Data Set (NHWDS)

The voluntary Medical and Nursing Workforce Surveys are administered to all registered health practitioners by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and are included as part of the registration renewal process. These surveys are used to provide nationally consistent workforce estimates. They provide data not readily available from other sources, such as on the type of work done by, and job setting of, health practitioners; the number of hours worked in a clinical or non-clinical role, and in total; and the numbers of years worked in, and intended to remain in, the health workforce. The surveys also provide information on those registered health practitioners who are not undertaking clinical work or who are not employed. The information from the NRAS workforce surveys, combined with NRAS registration data items, comprise the NHWDS.

Past and present surveys have different collection and estimation methodologies, questionnaire designs and response rates. As a result, care should be taken in comparing historical data from the AIHW Labour Force Surveys prior to 2010 with data from the NHWDS.

Health workforce data are now available for public access though the Department of Health’s Health Workforce Data Tool (HWDT) and the numbers in this publication reflect those extracted using the HWDT as at 26 February 2019 (mental health nurses) and 16 April 2019 (psychiatrists and psychologists). In the case of medical specialists, the numbers are those employed, as specialists, in their primary specialty. As such, there may be differences between the data presented here and that published elsewhere due to different calculation or estimation methodologies or data extraction dates. The HWDT uses a randomisation technique to confidentialise small numbers. This can result in differences between the column sum and total and small variations in numbers from one data extract to another.

Further information regarding the healthworkforce surveys is available at the Australian Government Department of Health.


AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency)  2017. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia: Approved Programs of Study. Viewed 24 April 2019

Psychology Board of Australia and AHPRA 2018. Registrant Data: 31 December 2017. Viewed 17 April 2019.

Psychology Board of Australia 2011. Endorsement (Further information): Area of Practice endorsements registration standard (2011). Viewed 24 April 2019.

Psychology Board of Australia 2016. Registration standard: General registration. Viewed 10 May 2019.

RANZCP (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists) 2013. Melbourne: Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Viewed 24 April 2019.