Understanding workforce patterns, opportunities, pathways and facilities to attract radiation oncology professionals to WA
Cyclical shortages of radiation oncology professionals continue to occur nationwide, especially in some locations, and particularly for when experienced radiation therapists are sought. It is expected that these shortages will continue due to the opening of new facilities and the introduction of new equipment to provide services for an increasing number of people being diagnosed with cancer. Key issues influencing trends within the radiation therapy workforce nationwide include recruitment and retention.
Additional issues which cause shortages in the WA workforce are due to the lack of a local radiation therapy course; the WA radiation oncology workforce has solely depended upon attracting radiation therapists to the state. Although approximately 60% of the WA workforce originates from interstate or overseas, WA continually struggles to attract radiation oncology professionals due to its geographical isolation, and to retain radiation therapy staff due to reduced opportunities for further study and career advancement. While experienced staff with international qualifications are actively sought for recruitment, this can be a limited employment avenue because qualifications do not always meet Australian accreditation standards. Consequently, currently both public and private service providers in WA lack workforce capacity and RT numbers to staff their departments so the research findings from this subprogram will be important for the development of the future WA workforce, as well as the national radiation oncology workforce.
This research aims: to determine current workforce patterns and attitudes of radiation oncology professionals both in WA and nationwide, explore the reasons why professionals leave the radiation oncology profession, to identify and investigate workforce issues particular to ROMP or RT professions, and to explore what would attract and/or retain both internationally and Australian trained radiation oncology professionals to WA.
The findings from this research will contribute to current radiation oncology workforce research, determine issues which particularly effect the WA radiation oncology workforce and will be used to develop recommendations to assist in planning for the future workforce in WA.