Arresting the decline in Aboriginal Health Worker numbers essential to Closing the Gap

  • Two women at a desk


In an article recently published in online health media site, Croakey, Karl Briscoe and Alyson Wright explored what could be done to arrest the decline in numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.

Karl and Alyson are authors of a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, showing that the training of new Aboriginal Health Workers is failing to keep up with population growth, and that this essential workforce is ageing.

man practicing suturingThe study demonstrated that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers had only increased slightly over the 10 years from 2006 to 2016, and that this increase did not match population growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The workforce is also ageing and there were fewer younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers entering the workforce.

The authors argue than we need make real effort in addressing critical recommendations from the Australian Government’s 2011 Growing Our Future report.

Health services should also look into increasing workforce opportunities, expanding the roles of Health Workers and developing pathways that build Aboriginal Health Workers in to their models of care and build the supports necessary to retain employees.

For the full story visit the Croakey website.


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