Doctors in the South East need more staff and more training

South Australian Business News  •  Regional News
Benjamin Opiyo
Friday, December 8th 2023

Preliminary results of the South Australian Business Chamber Regional Voice Survey show most businesses in South Australia’s South East region are concerned about labour costs.

50% of businesses say wage increases have been a challenge in the last 12 months.

They recognise the situation is beyond their control because labour is a need, and scarce at present. However, some have reduced staff to stay afloat while some have increased prices to pass on the cost to consumers.

50% of businesses surveyed so far report the lack of highly skilled workers is a challenge and that they pay significantly more to retain and attract employees.

Bronwyn Barker of Millicent Medical Clinic says growth opportunities in the region is stifled by labour shortages.

Healthcare services are needed here, but we do not have enough skilled workers, such as doctors to meet the demand we have.”

While alluding to the cause of high wages, Ms Barker says businesses must attract and keep staff by offering wages they need. This competition for talent is causing wage increases. 

In an interview with the South Australian Business Chamber, Ms Barker said the situation is progressively getting worse. 

Some job advertisements receive no responses despite favourable working conditions while some claim shortlisted applicants do not show up for interviews or job starts.” 

Residents are also feeling the heat.

Pensioners and children are paying for services that were previously bulk-billed and more patients have to pay more to access basic healthcare.”

High tax levies add pain to the injury. Most businesses consider payroll tax to be a stumbling block.

Respondents to the Regional Voice survey say the payroll tax waters down the enthusiasm to expand because wages increase but the tax threshold doesn’t index to accommodate.

While businesses stress the need for local skills and training incentives, 38% of respondents list the lack of local training options and costs as challenges.

When it comes to healthcare and social assistance businesses, Bronwyn calls for a new approach to training.

More training for GP practitioners needs to happen in rural areas to familiarise with local cultures and communities. 

It is not just about the job, it is about the community where they live in,” she added.

Let your voice be heard by responding to the South Australian Business Chamber Regional Voice Survey.

Results shared in this article are preliminary and are not reflective of the survey’s final findings.

Respond to the Regional Voice survey here.


Benjamin Opiyo

Marketing and Communications Intern
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