The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists has released its quadrennial Workforce Census describing the Australian clinical radiologist workforce as of 2020.
The Census reveals that Australian clinical radiology continues to rely heavily on International Medical Graduates, with more than a third of practising clinical radiologists obtaining their medical qualifications overseas. This proportion is comparable to the 2016 and 2012 censuses. The Census also confirms a range of issues highlighted in a number of key government reports about the maldistribution of the medical workforce, an ageing population, the burden of chronic illness and increasing after-hours demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key findings include:
- There were 2,350 full-time working clinical radiologists in Australia in 2020. This is 91.5 clinical radiologists per million Australians. Seventy per cent of the Australian population lives in metropolitan areas while 87% of the active clinical radiology workforce live in metropolitan areas.
- The pandemic with its restrictions on movement between states and territories, as well as the closure of the international border, demonstrated the vulnerability of Australia to long-term supply chains of radiology workforce, especially those that cross borders.
- For the first time, the Census has identified a decline in the average retirement age of clinical radiologists from 71.1 years in 2016 to 66.1 years in 2020.
- The shortage of clinical radiologists in rural and regional areas persists, with only 12.1% of clinical radiologists located in regional and rural Australia.
- In terms of gender, 71.1% of practising clinical radiologists identified as male and 28.9% identified as female. Gender imbalance continues to exist. However, there has been a steady increase of female clinical radiologists since the 2016 Census.
Clin A/Prof Sanjay Jeganathan, RANZCR President, commented: “The Census depicts the current clinical radiology workforce in Australia. Clinical radiology plays a vital role in diagnosis and cancer treatment. We need to increase clinical radiology trainee numbers to become less reliant on International Medical Graduates. The persistent shortage of clinical radiologists in regional and rural Australia indicates the uneven distribution of clinicians in Australia, so workforce planning is much needed to resolve this issue.”
The Clinical Radiology Workforce Census is a quadrennial survey of all clinical radiologist members, aiming to understand current workforce dynamics and their impact on clinical radiologist staffing levels and skill-mix. The 2020 census survey was distributed to 2,609 clinical radiologists in Australia, including 2,332 practising clinical radiologists and 277 retired clinical radiologists, and received a response rate of 47.1%. Read the full Census Report.
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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) is committed to improving health outcomes for all, by educating and supporting clinical radiologists and radiation oncologists. RANZCR is dedicated to setting standards, professional training, assessment and accreditation, and advocating access to quality care in both professions to create healthier communities.
RANZCR creates a positive impact by driving change, focusing on the professional development of its members and advancing best practice health policy and advocacy, to enable better patient outcomes.
RANZCR members are critical to health services: radiation oncology is a vital component in the treatment of cancer; clinical radiology is central to the diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury.
Source: RANZCR. For more information, go to www.ranzcr.com