The number of medical practitioners in Australia has seen a dramatic rise in the last four years, according to new data from the federal government.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released its latest Medical Workforce report on March 26, indicating that between 2006 and 2010 the staff numbers in the health sector rose by 13 per cent to 81,639.
Across Australia, more than 90 per cent of the medical workforce was clinicians – of whom 36 per cent were specialists and a further 35 per cent were general practitioners.
Major cities still received a higher concentration of full-time equivalent staff members, increasing by ten per cent to reach 400 medical practitioners per 100,000 people.
"The larger supply of medical practitioners in major cities reflects the much higher numbers of specialists and specialists-in-training working in major cities," AIHW spokesperson Teresa Dickinson said.
Private health insurance may offer policyholders increased access to specialists, such as dental practitioners, optometrists, chiropractors and psychologists.
Almost 53 per cent of the Australian population is now covered by hospital, general or combined treatment policies, according to the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.