13 December 2007

More than 900 new health professionals will join the workforce following graduations at The University of Queensland this week.

UQ graduates will boost the ranks of practitioners in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, audiology, human movement studies, pharmacy and public health.

More than 300 new doctors and almost 90 new dentists will graduate tomorrow (Friday, December 12). Also graduating will be the largest ever group of audiologists (37), including Australia’s first audiologist with a cochlear implant.

The total number of health graduates, including postgraduate coursework and higher degree students across a range of disciplines, including mental health, ergonomics and e-healthcare, is more than 1100.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Peter Brooks said despite universities working to increase health student numbers, a crisis in patient care was looming in Australia if action was not taken to address health workforce sustainability.

“Australian policy makers needed to adopt innovative educational models and smarter funding arrangements that will deliver health workforce sustainability long term,” said Professor Brooks, who is Interim Director of the new Australian Health Workforce Institute (AHWI), launched this week.

“Australia needs to engage in comprehensive and honest debate about health workforce issues. This Institute will promote health workforce research and work closely with Commonwealth and State jurisdictions to ensure a sustainable health workforce in Australia,” Professor Brooks said.

The AHWI is a partnership between The University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne.

(For details of graduation ceremonies click here)

Media inquiries: Health Sciences Faculty Communications Officer, Marlene McKendry – 0401 99 6847.