Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) has released the Speech Pathology Workforce Analysis: Preparing for our future report to address the growing concern of a shortage of speech pathologists in Australia.
The report highlights the need for accurate and reliable data to plan for the future of the profession and provide better outcomes for the community. Prompted by the rapid growth in the number of people entering the profession, and changes in funding that have impacted on access, the report aimed to understand the supply, distribution and estimated need for speech pathology services. The findings showed that speech pathologists were inequitably distributed across Australia and the supply of speech pathologists is not meeting the estimated population need.
The report drew on data from surveys distributed to speech pathologists, the Speech Pathology Australia membership database, employers, consumer organisations and publicly available data from Medicare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics and surveys distributed to speech pathologists, employers and consumer organisations. The recommendations in the report focus on enhancing the capacity of the existing speech pathology workforce, increasing the supply and distribution of the workforce, and improving the quality of data to support advocacy for speech pathology services and the workforce.
"The findings within the report confirmed what was already known anecdotally by the Association through our member and other stakeholder feedback, that the profession of speech pathology is in high demand, with varying levels of estimated unmet need across the community. The report will provide a foundation and benchmark for the Association and affirm that what we are currently working on is appropriate to support the current and future workforce," said Speech Pathology Australia CEO, Gail Mulcair.
The report will guide Speech Pathology Australia in its future strategic and operational plans and help build on its advocacy efforts for the profession.