Home Media Resources Action Now Required on Health Workforce - January 19 2006
Action Now Required on Health Workforce - January 19 2006
The HSU said today the Productivity Commissionís report on the health workforce was a good start in addressing chronic shortages of staff and the lack of training and career development for health professionals.
HSU national secretary Craig Thomson said the union supported a number of the report's recommendations including allowing health professionals access to Medicare, establishing a single national accreditation and registration boards and increasing education and training places.
"We support measures that will allow the skills of health workers to be used full advantage and health professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists and speech pathologists should be able to provide Medicare-funded services," he said.
"That will improve services to consumers, particularly in regional and remote centres where workforce shortages are most acute.
"The self-interest of doctors in preserving the existing system to the detriment of consumers should be ignored."
But Mr Thomson said the union did not believe the Productivity Commission went far enough in looking at ways to address the crippling workforce shortages.
"It is clear that we are losing many of our skilled health workers such as nurses, physiotherapists and radiation therapists overseas because the pay and conditions are better in other countries," he said.
"We cannot ignore the reality that we are competing in an international market and retaining our health workers must be a high priority for both the federal government and the states.
"The type of new work laws that we will have that make it easier to sack people and harder to maintain their pay and conditions is going to reduce the incentives for people to remain working in healthcare in Australia, especially in rural and remote areas."
Mr Thomson said the report also made worthwhile recommendations regarding the expansion of the training and role of Aboriginal health workers.
The HSU is the main union covering health professionals in Australia.
Health Services Union of Australia