The Role of the Health Workforce New Zealand

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The Role of the Health Workforce New Zealand

Citation: Ministry of Health. 2014. The Role of the Health Workforce New Zealand. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Published in November 2014
by the Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013, Wellington 6145, New Zealand

ISBN 978-0-478-42887-2 (print)

ISBN 978-0-478-42888-9 (online)
HP 6005

This document is available at

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Foreword from
the Board Executive Chair
Health Workforce New Zealand

The Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) Board is pleased to release this report on The Role of Health Workforce New Zealand. It is a companion document to our first yearly update on The Health of the Health Workforce 2013–2014, and provides background and contextual information to sit alongside that report.
The past five years have seen HWNZ lead a comprehensive response to the workforce challenges faced in New Zealand in 2009, some of which we will continue to face in years to come. However, these challenges are well understood and corrective strategies have been, or are being, put in place.
In the past five years, we have applied workforce intelligence based on the innovative and world- leading HWNZ health service forecasting methodology. We have tested innovative roles that move away from traditional approaches to workforce planning that will become increasingly unaffordable in years to come. We have substituted an outcomes perspective for a siloed profession-by-profession approach to forecasting because we are confident that this will deliver greater benefits to New Zealanders.
HWNZ was established to provide guidance and leadership in the health sector. It is heartening to see at the end of five years that many of our health workforces in New Zealand are no longer in crisis. Together with the sector, we are working on sound responses to the issues we face today and those we expect to face in the future.
The HWNZ Board looks forward to carrying on the work we have started over the past five years.
Professor Des Gorman BSc MBChB MD (Auckland) PhD (Sydney)

Board Executive Chair, Health Workforce New Zealand

Foreword from the Director
Health Workforce New Zealand

The dedicated people who work in New Zealand’s health and disability sector are crucial to the delivery of high quality services to all. Arguably they are the most critical component of our health system.
HWNZ’s goal is to ensure that the workforce is appropriately trained and configured to meet current and future health needs, so New Zealanders can be confident that they will receive the best health care possible.
Our role is that of facilitator, working with and through stakeholders to build a sustainable workforce. We support and, where appropriate, lead health sector responses to workforce planning and development. This can only occur through the coordinated efforts of training organisations, employers, unions, staff, regulatory bodies, professional associations and government bodies.
To identify and develop joined-up, mutually owned solutions to the challenges our sector faces, HWNZ has developed a taskforce and work programme for each of the key workforces – doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health workers, non-regulated workers, and those in leadership and managerial roles. Each taskforce comprises a steering group, made up of representatives drawn from across the health sector and a smaller working group. The working groups will implement defined programmes of work to improve professional development, recruitment and retention.
For now, the six taskforces will focus on their designated professions, mirroring the traditional approach taken to workforce planning. Additional projects are also under way, on mental health and the Māori and Pacific health workforces. The focus will then shift to new models of aged, primary and cancer care and other health priorities. In particular, we will examine how individual workforces can combine and align their efforts. For example, aged care will rely increasingly – but not exclusively – on kaiāwhina care workers working closely with general practitioners (GPs), practice nurses and allied health professionals.
This programme of work will enable us to develop more sophisticated responses to meeting the future health needs of New Zealanders.
Dr Graeme Benny

Director, Health Workforce New Zealand


Foreword from
the Board Executive Chair
Health Workforce New Zealand 3

Foreword from the Director
Health Workforce New Zealand 4

Introduction 6

Background 7

Responses to health care challenges 8

The purpose of Health Workforce New Zealand 9

Workforce challenges for Health Workforce New Zealand 10

Responses to workforce challenges 11

Developing the workforce to meet government health targets 12

Working with the sector 14

Building a sustainable workforce 15

Developing workforce intelligence 16

Workforce service forecasts 17

The need for workforce data 19

Demonstrating innovative roles 20

Recruitment, retention and distribution initiatives 22

Voluntary Bonding Scheme 22

Advanced Trainee Fellowship Scheme 23

Rural Health Interprofessional Immersion Programme 24

Managing the medical and nursing pipelines 25

Medical workforce taskforce 25

Setting up the nursing workforce programme 26

Developing the non-regulated (kaiāwhina) workforce 27

Increasing the number of targeted training opportunities 29

General Practice Education Programme 29

Midwifery First Year of Practice programme 29

Allied health, science and technical workforce review 29

Regional workforce development hubs 30

Career planning 31

Removing barriers to innovation 32

Clinical pharmacist prescriber 32

Extending legal functions to a range of health practitioners 32

Funding 33

Allocation of the HWNZ funding pool 35

Appendices 36

Appendix 1: Summarised recommendations of Workforce Service Forecasts 36

Appendix 2: Voluntary Bonding Scheme maps 40

List of Tables

Table 1: Examples of demonstrations supported by HWNZ 20

Table 2: VBS registrants 2009–2014 22

Table 3: Hard-to-staff specialties for 2015 23

Table 4: VBS registrants 2014 23

List of Figures

Figure 1: Developing sustainable workforces and new models of care 13

Figure 2: Distribution of HWNZ funding, totalling more than $165 million14 33

Figure 3: Medical hard-to-staff communities 2015 40

Figure 4 Nursing hard-to-staff communities 2015 41

Figure 5: Midwifery hard-to-staff communities 2015 42

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