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Ophthalmology amongst most common clinical specialties

Ophthalmology has been listed amongst the 20 most common specialties for employed clinicians in a recent report on the medical workforce.

The Medical practitioner workforce 2015 report released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) stated that a total of 102,805 medical practitioners were registered in Australia in 2015, with 88,040 being employed – an increase of 3.4% per year on average from 2012 to 2015.

The report showed that the medical workforce has become increasingly specialised over the last decade.

“[The] supply of non-GP specialists increased from 121 to 143 per 100,000 people between 2005 and 2015 (21,953 to 31,189 employed specialists) and the supply of specialists-in-training increased from 43.4 to 74.8 per 100,000 people (7,268 to 15,336 specialists-in-training),” AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster stated.

On the contrary, the supply of GPs changed little between 2005 and 2015, ranging from 109 per 100,000 people in 2008 to 114 in 2015 (24,655 to 28,329 GPs).

“This suggests that while the supply of GPs is keeping pace with population growth, the number of medical practitioners working in, or training to take on, specialist roles is growing faster,” Dr Webster explained.

The number of specialists working as clinicians also increased between 2005 and 2015, up 46.8% from 19,943 to 29,269. Of this, 862 clinicians were specialising in ophthalmology in 2015. This male-dominant group (18.8% were female) had an average age of 53 years and worked an average of 42.4 hours per week.

Ophthalmology was the 10th most common specialty amongst employed clinicians in 2015. Anaesthesia was the most common, with 3,881 clinicians listing that as their main practice specialty.

It was said there were more than 80 specialties that medical practitioners could choose to specialise in.


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