Supply of the health workforce for the Indigenous population maps
Appropriate, culturally safe and accessible services are an essential component of health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Distance and remoteness pose challenges for workforce recruitment and health service delivery, particularly in areas where populations are widely dispersed or isolated. Not all Indigenous Australians have equal access to health service locations and areas characterised by poorer access often have poorer health outcomes.
The Geographically-adjusted Index of Relative Supply (GIRS) is a measure developed by the AIHW to compare health workforce supply across small geographic areas. The GIRS takes the known workforce supply based in an area and adjusts it for three other factors—land size, population dispersion, and the proximity of the population to the relevant service locations.
The GIRS score ranges from 0 to 8 for each geographic area, and can vary for different professions. Areas with lower GIRS scores are more likely to face workforce supply challenges than those with higher GIRS scores.
When compared with the distribution of the Indigenous population, the GIRS score can assess the extent to which Indigenous people live in areas with lower relative levels of workforce supply.
Interactive GIRS score maps of Australia are presented for GPs, dentists and midwives.
The GIRS summary score measures the consistency of relative workforce supply in geographic areas using GIRS scores across seven professions—GPs, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists and optometrists. That is, it counts the number of times that each geographic area has a GIRS score of 0 or 1 for each of the seven professions. It gives a summary score between 0 and 7, with higher values reflecting a higher number of workforce supply challenges for that area.
An interactive GIRS summary score map of Australia is presented.