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Considerations for training and workforce development to enhance rural and remote ophthalmology practise in Australia: a scoping review


Obamiro, K and Jessup, B and Allen, P and Baker-Smith, V and Khanal, S and Barnett, T, Considerations for training and workforce development to enhance rural and remote ophthalmology practise in Australia: a scoping review, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, (14) Article 8593. ISSN 1660-4601 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (

DOI: doi:10.3390/ijerph19148593


Australia has one of the lowest per capita numbers of ophthalmologists among OECD countries, and they predominantly practise in metropolitan centres of the country. Increasing the size and distribution of the ophthalmology workforce is of critical importance. The objective of this review was to investigate the context of rural ophthalmology training and practise in Australia and how they relate to future ophthalmology workforce development. This scoping review was informed by Arksey and O’Malley’s framework and the methodology described by Coloqhuon et al. The search yielded 428 articles, of which 261 were screened for eligibility. Following the screening, a total of 75 articles were included in the study. Themes identified relating to rural ophthalmology training and practise included: Indigenous eye health; access and utilisation of ophthalmology-related services; service delivery models for ophthalmic care; ophthalmology workforce demographics; and ophthalmology workforce education and training for rural and remote practise. With an anticipated undersupply and maldistribution of ophthalmologists in the coming decade, efforts to improve training must focus on how to build a sizeable, fit-for-purpose workforce to address eye health needs across Australia. More research focusing on ophthalmology workforce distribution is needed to help identify evidence-based solutions for workforce maldistribution. Several strategies to better prepare the future ophthalmology workforce for rural practise were identified, including incorporating telehealth into ophthalmology training settings; collaborating with other health workers, especially optometrists and specialist nurses in eyecare delivery; and exposing trainees to more patients of Indigenous background.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ophthalmologists, recruitment, retention, workforce
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Rural and remote health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Rural and remote area health
UTAS Author:Obamiro, K (Dr Kehinde Obamiro)
UTAS Author:Jessup, B (Dr Belinda Jessup)
UTAS Author:Allen, P (Dr Penny Allen)
UTAS Author:Barnett, T (Associate Professor Tony Barnett)
ID Code:151159
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2022-07-22
Last Modified:2022-08-11

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