New healthcare job opportunities in a fast-developing sectors
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for Australia’s healthcare sector, although not always as predicted. Caring for those who have contracted the virus, as well as setting up and operating the country’s hundreds of testing facilities, has demonstrated the incredible resilience and work ethic of Australia’s health sector leaders, health professionals and aged care workers.
Actions taken against COVID-19 so far include establishing clear protocols and pandemic response teams, committing $2.4 billion in funding including paying for telehealth, conducting more than 80,000 tests and contact tracing, and fast-tracking increases in capacity of the workforce, beds, equipment and diagnostics.
While this has indeed been a stressful time, it has shown the need for a shift in the country’s healthcare industry, that will see increased funding, education and, above all, the need for more skilled healthcare professionals.
It will be important to use the experience of this pandemic to help us be better prepared, and as a way to strengthen the country’s healthcare industry and embrace the opportunities that come along with it.
Here are just some of the opportunities for the healthcare industry that are expected in the future.
Greater focus on mental health services
The pandemic has seen Australians living through a particularly traumatic time in history, creating an increase in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, such as substance abuse and PTSD. According to a Monash University study launched to track the mental health effects of the coronavirus crisis, 30 percent of the 1,200 people surveyed said they were experiencing moderate to high levels of anxiety and depression.
To combat feelings of anxiety and isolation, the Federal Government has partnered with various mental health organisations to offer additional mental health support and funding during the COVID-19 crisis and thereafter. These include free telehealth counselling by mental health professionals around the clock, a range of online resources, mental health communications campaigns and funding to continue to deliver psychosocial support to Commonwealth community mental health clients for a further 12 months. All of these will provide new job opportunities for healthcare workers experienced in the area of counselling and mental health.
Elective surgery demand
Across the country, elective surgery was disrupted and postponed amidst the spread of the virus. Tentative estimations were made to restore full elective surgery to 100 per cent capacity by the end of July, however spikes in cases as the second wave hits have thrown this into doubt.
This raises concerns for the medical industry and patient advocates who are pushing governments to devise a plan to catch up on elective surgery, which has seen over 400,000 patients added to hospital waiting lists.
As pressure from the virus begins to ease and capacity is returned to the health system, elective surgeries will ramp up in an effort to address those patients in need of surgery. As such, a spokeswoman for the Victorian health department said the state would resume its $60 million elective surgery blitz, announced before COVID-19 restrictions, as soon as it was safe to do so. This will see a spike in job opportunities for those who work within the elective surgery space, with more surgeons required to address the backlog.
Growing opportunities in telehealth
The pandemic has certainly brought telehealth to the fore, demonstrating the importance of this technology within the medical space. Australia is now experimenting with new funding for telehealth that supports use of this technology and those employees who operate it.
Since the COVID-19 crisis emerged in January, care providers have rapidly innovated to rollout COVID-19 triaging models and assessment tools (such as in-car triage and open-air consultations). And there have been behavioural changes driven by social distancing, with GPs and online GP services seeing an increased demand for virtual care consultations. It may be that this experience can help provide a pathway to fund ongoing use of telehealth methods, thus improving Australia’s ability to deal with such diseases in future.
One Australian company is already leading the way with regards to bettering telehealth services. Coreplus is a management software that aims to connect Allied Health providers across Australia with patients using a unique digital health connected network. This creates a network that allows practitioners to emulate the whole healthcare experience remotely, including privacy, security and, most importantly, human connection. You can find out more about Coreplus and the telehealth space by listening to this episode of Bayside Group’s Work Conversations podcast, where we spoke to Coreplus founder and CEO Yianni Serpanos.
Though the pandemic has placed undue pressure on Australia’s healthcare system, it has also shone a light on the value and importance of this industry in keeping Australians safe. With additional focus, respect and funding being channelled into the sector, there proves to be an incredible amount of future opportunities for those working and seeking jobs in the industry.
If you are looking for work within the healthcare sector, contact Austra Health today to speak with one of our experienced consultants.