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3 ways population growth will affect healthcare in Australia’s cities

The Health Industry

The population in Australian cities has been trending sharply upwards in the recent past. Melbourne is growing at the fastest rate overall, but Sydney and Brisbane are also experiencing dramatic growth. Although Australians have been leaving Sydney in significant numbers, the city’s population is still climbing. The growth is a result of overseas migration, particularly from international students, plus a natural increase in the birth rate. Many of the people who left Sydney have relocated to Melbourne.

The growing numbers of people are putting a strain on certain aspects of life in these cities. In particular, there’s a growing burden being placed on the healthcare system.

This burden is projected to grow even greater in the future. The most recent ABS population projection data indicates that the population of Australia could possibly climb to a staggering 70.1 million people by the year 2101.

Let’s take a look at 3 of the most critical ways that current growth is affecting the healthcare system; keep in mind that these issues are likely to continue affecting the system even more significantly in the future if the population does, indeed, continue to climb.

1. A Need for More Infrastructure

William Bourke, the founder of Sustainable Australia, has proposed that that the likeliest result of continued population growth will be massive queues for hospital beds. Australia’s ageing population adds even more significantly to this pressure. This is because older citizens tend to require more healthcare services than their younger counterparts do.

These problems demand multi-faceted solutions, and public officials are scrambling to fix the situation. The Age reports that Melbourne’s Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, is at the forefront of various building projects intended to create new infrastructure including hospitals, roads, schools and a public transportation network.

2. A Need for More and Better-Trained Healthcare Professionals

Inadequate infrastructure is only one aspect of the problem. Another facet: Sufficient human resources will be needed to provide for the healthcare needs of the increasing population in Australia’s major cities. This will require Australia’s universities to train more administrators, doctors, nurses and support staff. Increased funding for Medicare is also likely to be a necessity in the future.

The situation could result in a wealth of leadership opportunities for experienced healthcare professionals who are already working in the field. Experts within our Department of Jobs and Small Business are predicting very strong growth opportunities for health and welfare services managers, registered nurses, nurse managers, and midwives.

There will be a need, in particular, for leaders in healthcare administration who have the vision and ability to guide their teams through the ever-changing healthcare environment in Australia’s major cities. To ensure success, there is a need for administrators who are able to manage effectively despite the likelihood of inadequate funding. The job will also demand a capacity for interpreting the results of the latest medical research and using it to refine and improve facility policies and influence everyday, hands-on clinical practice. This is exactly the skill set a manager could expect to gain from completing a masters in health management degree program. An advanced degree is not a strict necessity for success in this role, but the knowledge gained from it would be an asset for administrators as they navigate the increasingly complex environment in Australia’s major cities.

3. A Need for Multilingual Healthcare Professionals Who Demonstrate Cultural Literacy

One other critical issue is that many of Australia’s newest residents speak various languages other than English. They adhere to a variety of faiths and cultural practices. Cultural sensitivity is becoming increasingly important for healthcare professionals – particularly for doctors, nurses, midwives and therapists who are directly involved with patient care and communications. Training in transcultural nursing is likely to become increasingly important in the future. It is also likely to become more critical for healthcare facilities in Australia’s urban areas to seek out bilingual and multilingual employees at every level.

Those of you who live and work in Australia’s major cities might see advantages in seeking out language training on your own. There are free resources available to you for doing so. Duolingo and Openculture offer you a couple of excellent possibilities.

These are not the only ways that population growth could potentially affect the healthcare industry in Australia; however, they’re 3 of the most critical results that are already becoming obvious as a result of the population growth Australia has recently experienced. By all appearances, we’ve not yet reached the peak population we’re expecting to attain – so these effects are likely to become significantly more pronounced in the future if the population does continue to climb.

This post has been place on My Health Career in partnership with Southern Cross University.

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