A new study by the University of Warwick finds that in general, a shortage of medical staff means people in nursing homes are less likely to be offered new jobs.
The findings are published in the medical journal Occupational Medicine & Science.
The study is the first to examine the association between shortages of doctors and the quality of jobs advertised.
It found that people in acute-care facilities were less likely than general medical staff to be considered for a new position.
“The fact that these vacancies were not advertised in the primary care, nursing home or primary care hospitals means that it is difficult to know what was the real impact of this on the job market,” said Dr Rebecca Taylor, who led the study.
“These vacancies were clearly not a good option for many nursing homes, especially when they are a major employer.”
The study also looked at vacancies in primary care and the nursing home sector in Australia.
The researchers found that in acute care facilities, the proportion of vacancies advertised to general medical workers declined by one-third, from about 12 per cent in 2010 to 5 per cent today.
The proportion of vacant vacancies advertised for primary care was lower, falling from 5 per to 4 per cent.
Nursing home vacancies also decreased by one per cent over the same period.
The shortage of doctors was not found to be a factor in the labour market in general.
“When we looked at the vacancies advertised in general medical hospitals, we found that the proportion advertised to nurses and social workers had fallen by a further 12 per a per cent,” Dr Taylor said.
“So that means in the acute care, it is clear that the vacancy rate is going down and the vacancy rates in the nursing homes is increasing.”
She said the shortage of physicians was especially acute in acute hospitals.
“That is particularly problematic for the primary and specialist healthcare industries,” she said.
A shortage of specialists is a serious concern in Australia because of the ageing population.
“People are dying,” Dr Taylors study found.
The researchers also found that vacancies in the tertiary care sector declined over the period, but not in primary and other hospitals. “
What we do know is that we have a shortage in primary healthcare and that is something that we need to focus on urgently.”
The researchers also found that vacancies in the tertiary care sector declined over the period, but not in primary and other hospitals.
The primary care vacancy rate in 2012 was 3.7 per cent, compared with 6 per cent for hospitals.
Primary care vacancies were down by 9 per cent between 2010 and 2012, and by 17 per cent since 2011.
Nursing homes are often the most important employers for primary and specialty care staff, with many working in acute and long-term care facilities.
Dr Taylor, from the Department of Social Work and Community Health at Warwick, said there was still much to be learned about the impact of shortages on people in the workplace.
“There is still much that needs to be done to improve the workforce in general,” she added.
“Nursing home staff are the ones who really need to get the most out of their jobs.”
The findings from the study are the latest in a series by the university of Warwick looking at the effects of a lack of qualified people on Australia’s workforce.
The first in the series, which looked at a similar set of issues in 2014, found the number of people in temporary and insecure jobs rose by a third between 2011 and 2013.
In the last year, the number has continued to rise, with the proportion in the workforce having fallen by three-quarters since 2011 to 12 per one per centre.
The number of students studying in tertiary settings fell by 17,000 between 2011-12 and 2012-13, the latest year for which figures are available.
The new study also found there was a clear increase in the number seeking work in the non-primary sector.
There was an increase in people seeking work at the retail, wholesale and department stores sector, as well as in the leisure and hospitality sector.
In health care, the increase in work in acute settings was greater than in other health services.
The increase in nursing home and other acute care positions was also greater than for other health and social services.
Dr Taylan said the findings showed that, despite a lack the supply of skilled healthcare workers, “there is a shortage”.
“There are so many vacancies available in the sector and people are desperate to find work, so the only solution is to have more people working in the health and care sector,” she explained.
“This could be the only way to address this problem.”
The new survey also found the proportion seeking work outside the primary health and health care sector increased by 17 percentage points between 2010-11 and 2012.
The report, which was funded by the Australian Medical Association, also found “very strong evidence” that Australians’ attitudes towards nursing homes have changed