Supporting a sustainable workforce

As one of the largest specialist medical colleges in Australia and New Zealand, we're committed to training, developing and supporting the workforce required to fulfil the our mission of serving the community by fostering safety and high quality patient care in anaesthesia, perioperative medicine and pain medicine.

Anaesthesia and pain medicine workforce

Australia and New Zealand’s anaesthesia and pain medicine workforce comprises more than 7100 highly skilled professionals working in a variety of private and public settings. An analysis of this workforce highlighted a number of characteristics and trends that have influenced college workforce priorities, such as:

  • A marked under-representation of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori fellows and trainees.
  • A geographic maldistribution of the workforce with around 84 per cent of anaesthetists and 90 per cent of specialist pain medicine physicians working in major cities in Australia, and 90 per cent of anaesthetists and 91 per cent of specialist pain medicine physicians working in urban or secondary urban areas in New Zealand.
  • A high number of specialist pain medicine physicians (nearly 50 per cent) approaching retirement age.

Policy and reform context

The anaesthesia and pain medicine workforce is affected by developments and policy changes in the health system as well as broader social and economic dynamics driving health workforce reforms. Policy and document analysis reveals a wide range of health system and broader factors impacting workforce and the way health services are being delivered, such as:

  • A growing and ageing population.
  • Demand for healthcare services increasing at a rate significantly in excess of both population and gross domestic product growth.
  • Changing community expectations about where and how health services are delivered.
  • Technological advances and innovations.
  • Resource constraint which has impacted health system funding, particularly in infrastructure and staffing.
  • Increasingly complex patients with multiple comorbidities.
  • The poorer health outcomes of Indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand.

National Medical Workforce Strategy

In 2019 the Australian government Department of Health announced that it was developing a 10-year National Medical Workforce Strategy to guide long-term medical workforce planning. The first phase was to develop a scoping document and this was completed in July 2019. The strategy is due to be finalised and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments Health Council in late 2020. Further information about the strategy is available on the Department of Health website.

A number of medical workforce priorities for the strategy have been identified, informed by stakeholders including specialist medical colleges. The priorities to be addressed by the strategy are:

  • Geographic maldistribution and inequality in healthcare access.
  • Over- and under-supply in certain specialties.
  • The balance of generalist versus subspecialist skills.
  • Growing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and having a culturally safe medical workforce.
  • Doctor work-readiness.
  • Service delivery and changing models of care.
  • Coordination between medical workforce planning stakeholders.
  • Management of the training and career pathway.
  • Reliance on registrars to meet health service needs.

Specialist Training Program

This Australian government initiative aims to extend vocational training for specialist registrars into settings outside traditional metropolitan teaching hospitals, including regional, rural and remote, and private facilities.

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Growing the Indigenous workforce

Helping more Indigenous doctors to train as anaesthetists and pain specialists is one of the key ways we can address wider inequities. This doesn't just mean recruiting, retaining, and supporting Indigenous health practitioners, but also helping to create culturally safe and responsive workplaces.

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Upcoming events

2020 ANZCA NZNC Leadership Hui

18 November 2020 - 20 November 2020 | Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Join us for the ANZCA New Zealand National Committee (NZNC) Hui on leadership, cultural safety...

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2021 Combined SIG meeting

9 July 2021 - 11 July 2021 | Riley Crystalbrook

Join us for the 2021 Combined Communication, Education, Welfare and Leadership and Management SIG...

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2021 FPM Symposium

30 April 2021 | Melbourne, Vic

Save the date

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2021 Rural SIG meeting

11 June 2021 - 13 June 2021 | Airlie Beach, Qld

Join us for the 2021 Rural Special Interest Group (SIG), and the Mackay Anaesthetic Community at...

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2021 Scan and Ski workshop

22 July 2021 - 24 July 2021 | Thredbo, NSW

Join us at the 2021 Scan and Ski Workshop "Regional ultrasound scanning workshop for peripheral...

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2021 Tasmanian Winter Meeting

21 August 2021 | Barnbougle, Tasmania

Join us for the 2021 Tasmanian Winter Meeting in Barnbougle, Tasmania.

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ANZCA Educators Program (Brisbane)

15 September 2020 - 18 September 2020 | Brisbane

This is a three and a half day event open to fellows, specialist international medical graduates,...

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ANZCA Educators Program (Melbourne)

26 October 2020 - 29 October 2020 | Melbourne

This is a three and a half day event open to fellows, specialist international medical graduates,...

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ANZCA Educators Program (Perth)

18 November 2020 - 19 November 2020 | Perth

This is a two-day event open to fellows, specialist international medical graduates, provisional...

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CTN Strategic Research Workshop

5 August 2021 - 8 August 2021 | Brisbane

Join us for the 2021 ANZCA Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Strategic Research Workshop

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Fellowship viva: techniques and tips

3 September 2020 | Via Zoom

A free virtual evening course for Qld trainees preparing for their final vivas.

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Introduction to Anaesthesia NSW

14 November 2020 | Sydney, NSW

This free one day course is aimed at new trainees about to commence anaesthetic training.

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NSW final exam refresher course

7 December 2020 - 11 December 2020 | Sydney, NSW

This full-time, week-long intensive course covers many of the core curriculum topics that could...

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Queensland final practice viva

10 September 2020 - 1 October 2020 | Brisbane, Queensland

Four free mock viva sessions designed to help trainees prepare for the ANZCA final exam

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Queensland primary practice viva

26 August 2020 - 30 September 2020 | Brisbane, Queensland

A series of four free mock viva sessions designed to help trainees prepare for the ANZCA primary...

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Queensland primary viva weekend course

3 October 2020 - 4 October 2020 | Brisbane, Queensland

A choice of two one-day courses of continuous viva practice sessions to help you prepare for the...

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Last updated 09:09 30.06.2020