Addressing Health Workforce Shortages in Rural and Remote Australia through the Provision of Physician Assistants

By Ankur Verma 

Ankur attended the 2015 OECD Forum in Paris. 

Abstract

The context of global and Australian health workforce presented in this research paper has been used to guide the introduction of Physician Assistants (PAs) into Australia as a national health care recommendation. The scope of practice, employment potential, prospective impact on the Australian health system, and contribution to the productivity and quality of health care services[1] offered by the Physician Assistant model, as it is referred to, is discussed in support of the recommendations presented in this paper. Alternative rural and remote training pathways and better access to health care through even workforce distribution have been selected as two broad themes for this research paper. Health Workforce Australia’s (HWA) review on the globalisation of PAs in the United States (US), has also been used to guide the need for professional registration for PAs with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and accreditation with the Australian Medical Council (AMC). PAs’ access to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) has also been recommended evidenced by their role in the Australian health workforce context, so they can be utilised to their full potential including contributing to General Practitioner (GP) supervised primary care services, especially in rural areas. 

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