Primary Health Workforce Strategy

The Rural Health Workforce Support Activity addresses health workforce shortages and maldistribution in regional, rural and remote Australia, including:

  • improving access and continuity of access to essential primary healthcare
  • building local health workforce capability to ensure communities can access the right health professional at the right time, and ensuring health practitioners have the right skills and qualifications for their positions
  • growing the sustainability and supply of the health workforce to strengthen long‐term access to appropriately qualified health professionals.

As a Rural Workforce Agency, NT PHN is funded through the Australian Government Rural Health Workforce Support Activity until 30 June 2020. 


Health Workforce Stakeholder Group

A Health Workforce Stakeholder Group provides support and direction to identify workforce needs and solutions. Membership is reviewed annually and aims to provide representation of key stakeholders. 


Health Workforce Needs Assessment

The Health Workforce Needs Assessment (Needs Assessment) is an iterative process that identifies workforce needs and informs evidence-based responses to address those needs. The needs assessment process includes:

  • reviewing available literature and collation of existing data
  • consultation with key stakeholders including industry groups and peak bodies  
  • surveys, interviews and other activity to consult and fill information gaps
  • validation with subject experts
  • broad consultation.

In 2017-18, the Health Workforce Needs Assessment focussed on General Practitioners and remote primary health care workforce including Remote Area Nurses and Aboriginal Health Practitioners. 


In 2018-19 this scope will be expanded to include allied health and practice nurses. 


2018-19 priority areas

Geographic priorities

  • All remote Aboriginal community controlled health care services
  • All Aboriginal community controlled health services serving the Aboriginal populations in Darwin and Alice Springs
  • General Practices in remote locations MMM 6 and 7 –  (Katherine, Nhulunbuy), growing outer regional areas (Dundee, Wagait Beach, Adelaide River and Bachelor) and Darwin urban fringe communities – Howard Springs, Humpty Doo, Weddell, Alligator

Priority areas

  • Priority Area 1:  Develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce – Clinical and Non-clinical
  • Priority Area 2:  Develop pathways from selection and employment to retention  
  • Priority Area 3:  Attract, maintain and retain existing workforce within the Northern Territory with consideration of gaps and emerging needs.  
  • Priority Area 4:  Develop locally responsive, sustainable models of care

Find out more about each priority in Workforce Needs Analysis: Priority Areas.

Strategies and activities

In consultation with stakeholders, the Health Workforce Needs Assessment is used to identify priority areas and activities that support local solutions to these needs. In April 2018, NT PHN conducted workshops involving stakeholders from across the Northern Territory to identify solutions. They have been captured in NT PHNs plan for workforce activities in the coming year. See the workshop report for more information.