Background: Workforce distribution has an important influence on the quality of healthcare delivered in a region, primarily because it impacts access to health services in the community and overall health equity in the population. Distribution of osteopaths in Australia does not appear to follow the Australian population with the majority of osteopaths located in Victoria. The implications of this imbalance on the osteopathic workforce have not yet been explored.
Methods: A secondary analysis of data from a survey of 1531 members of Osteopathy Australia in 2013. The analysis focused on the practice and occupational characteristics associated with practice locality.
Results: The survey was completed by a representative sample of 432 osteopaths. Respondents practicing outside Victoria were more likely to report higher income across all income brackets, and were less likely to report a preference for more patients.
Conclusions: The Australian osteopathic profession should examine the issue of imbalanced workforce distribution as a priority. The results of this study are worth considering for all stakeholders as part of a coordinated approach to ensure the ongoing health of the Australian osteopathic workforce.
Author keywords: Health workforce — Osteopathy — Survey — Workforce sustainability
Author affiiations: AS, JW: University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Health, Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Ultimo, NSW Australia; AS: Endeavour College of Natural Health, Office of Research, Brisbane, QLD Australia; NJ, RB, MK: Southern Cross University, School of Health and Human Sciences, Lismore, NSW Australia
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