Projecting the Radiation Oncology Workforce in Australia


Research on radiation oncologists has indicated that there is a shortage in supply of specialist workers in thisfield internationally, and also within Australia. However, there are no current estimates as to what the futureAustralian radiotherapy workforce will look like. This paper aims to review the current status and capacity ofthe three main disciplines that make up the radiation oncology workforce in Australia and project the workforcesupply and demand for 2014 and 2019. Using data on the workforce from a survey of all radiotherapy facilitiesoperating in Australia in 2008 a workforce model was constructed. This study found that there will be a futureshortfall of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and radiation oncology medical physicists working inradiation oncology treatment. By 2014 there will be 109 fewer radiation oncologists than what will be demanded,and by 2019 this figure will increase to a shortfall of 155 radiation oncologists. There was a projected shortfall of612 radiation therapists by 2014, with this figure slightly decreasing to a shortfall of 593 radiation therapists in2019. In 2014, there was projected to be a deficit of 104 radiation oncology medical physicists with a persistingshortfall of 78 in 2019. This future projected shortage highlights the need for radiation oncology workforceplanning.