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In December, Rural Health West launched our inaugural report exploring nursing, midwifery, dental and allied health workforce across rural Western Australia at the Australasian College of Health Service Management forum in Albany.

The Annual Health Workforce Update: The rural nursing, midwifery, dental and allied health workforce in Western Australia is the first of its kind in Western Australia, and we believe it is potentially the first of its kind throughout Australia.

Our aim is that the Update will provide insight into the rural health workforce and assist organisations with their workforce strategies.

Since 2003, Rural Health West has published an annual workforce update on GPs working across rural WA.

This report provides detailed analyses of the rural and remote GP workforce in WA, providing insight into where these GPs are located, the nature of their work, procedural skills practiced, trends in growth of the workforce, proportion of the workforce who are IMGs, GP registrars etc.

This data has been routinely shared with rural health agencies to inform their workforce planning and strategies.

Rural Health West began collecting nursing, midwifery, dental and allied health data in response to expansion of our federally funded programs beyond GPs and growing recognition of multi-disciplinary models of care.

We have surveyed these professions since 2012.

While data has been expanding, in 2019 RHW committed to publishing a report on these professions similar to the Rural GP Annual Workforce Update. Since the commencement of the project our records grew from 1,800 at the start of 2019 to 3,600 at the time of the report.

Ultimately we aim to integrate this report into the GP report to provide a single annual rural health workforce report – ‘a single source of truth’ for WA.

We are still working to build our dataset towards capturing 100% of the workforce and invite feedback from rural health sector organisations as to what other data may be useful to capture.

Rural health workforce leaders Judith Barker (Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations), Dr Neale Fong (Australasian College of Health Service Management), Helen Van Gessel (WA Country Health Service) and Tim Shackleton (Rural Health West)



Acknowledgement of Country