Health Workforce Australia has released Podiatrists in Focus – its latest data on the podiatry workforce in Australia. Podiatry is a relatively small profession, with 3,491 employed podiatrists in the labour force as at 2012. Health Workforce Australia has identified the remote and very remote areas in Australia as having significant shortages in the podiatry workforce.
The numbers of podiatry students have increased in the last few years, these being 1,173 in 2011, 1,552 in 2012 and 1,612 in 2013. The Health Workforce Australia report included information from industry stakeholders. The Australian Podiatry Council raised the issue of clinical placement issues, with the concern being the difficulty in obtaining placements for podiatry students as podiatry predominantly has a private sector workforce. This is expected to influence the training capacity and therefore the potential supply of podiatrists.
In 2012, 96.1% of podiatrists in the labour market were employed, 3.3% were on extended leave, and 0.7% was looking for work in podiatry. In 2012, 888 of the employed podiatrists were working in the public sector, and 2,960 in the private sector. According to the 2012 data:
- 2,402 (68.7%) were working in private practice
- 345 (9.9%) worked in a community healthcare setting
- 312 (8.9%) worked in a hospital
- 147 (4.2%) were working in a residential health care facility
- 56 (1.6%) worker in an educational facility
- 49 (1.4%) worked in a sports centre or sports clinic
- The highest ratio of podiatrists per 100,000 population were in the Central Adelaide and Hills, Inner North West Melbourne, Loddon – Mallee- Murray, Bayside (Vic), Perth Central and Metro Medicare Local catchment areas
- The fewest number of podiatrists per 100,000 population were in the Far West NSW, Northern Territory, Kimberly – Pilbara, Far North Queensland and Western Sydney Medicare Local catchment areas