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Issue: December 2019


Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to the last Health Workforce update for 2019.

Apart from essential services, the Ministry of Health is closing on Friday 20 December and reopening on 6 January 2020. I want to acknowledge those of you who will continue to provide health services over this time.

In this edition, we will be updating you on:

  • Nurse Practitioner Training
  • Rural Health Workforce – Rural Interdisciplinary Training Hubs
  • Health Workforce Advisory Board
  • Voluntary Bonding Scheme 2020 intake: eligible professions, specialties and communities
  • New Staff in the Ministry’s Health Workforce Directorate.

Nurse Practitioner Training

The University of Auckland and Massey University have been piloting a Nurse Practitioner training programme. The pilot has been very successful, and the Ministry would like to expand the programme. It will include a focus on those who will work in a substantive mental health and/or addictions role in primary mental health and aims to increase the numbers of, and support for, Māori Nurse Practitioner and Pacific Nurse Practitioner candidates.

We are now looking for responses from education providers, employers and other parties, ideally working together, to develop and deliver the Nurse Practitioner training programme. We are also looking for collaborative responses from education providers and employers to identify and deliver supported placements for Nurse Practitioners working in a substantive mental health and addictions role in primary care.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) is now on the Government Electronics Tender (GETS) website and is open until 20 February 2020.


Rural Health Workforce - Rural Interdisciplinary Training Hubs

In our last update, we said we had been engaging with rural stakeholders about rural interdisciplinary learning hubs. Thanks to those of you who made the time to speak with us or Sapere Research Group about this important work.

Sapere has completed the initial scoping exercise and provided several options to take the hubs forward. These range from the status quo - with the existing and planned rural immersion sites, right through to a full rural health professional school which would train multiple health professions across their entire degrees.

The Ministry will complete more in-depth scoping work with Sapere in early 2020, and we will be talking with stakeholders further then.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Alastair Higham-Lee, the programme manager for this work at: alastair.higham-lee@health.govt.nz.


Update from Health Workforce Advisory Board

The Health Workforce Advisory Board will have a focus on improving the representation of Pacific people in its first year of activities looking at the Future of Health Work. This follows the tabling of data relating to the poor representation of Pacific people in the District Health Board workforce. 

Board member Associate Professor Tai Sopoaga noted that there was limited data on the Pacific health workforce “but the figures we do have show that the Pacific workforce is considerably under-represented across the sector.” The Board noted that the aspirations of the Pacific community were to have a stronger voice in current debates about equity, and to have greater visibility in the work of the Ministry of Health. While the Ministry was recruiting a Director of Pacific Health and its Pacific team, it was critical that Pacific health work did not stall. Associate Professor Tai Sopoaga will lead the Board’s engagement with key Pacific workforce stakeholders in early 2020


Voluntary Bonding Scheme 2020 intake: eligible professions, specialties and communities

The Voluntary Bonding Scheme is a practical initiative run by the Ministry of Health to encourage newly qualified health professionals to work in communities and specialties that need them the most. Those on the scheme receive annual payments to help repay their student loan or as a top-up of their income.

The scheme is reviewed annually to make sure it is responsive to current need and demands.  For 2020, changes include:

  • The addition of Enrolled Nurses (working in Mental Health and Addiction or Aged Care) as an eligible nursing scope
  • The addition of several eligible communities for General Practice medical trainees, including Whangarei, Cambridge and Capital & Coast DHB (excluding Wellington and Porirua)
  • The addition of MidCentral DHB as an eligible community for DHB-employed midwives.

The Ministry will also increase support for postgraduate General Practice medical trainees working in rural and non-urban locations, by increasing the number of places available in the scheme for that workforce.

The full list of eligible professions, specialties and communities can be found on the Ministry's website: Voluntary Bonding Scheme – 2020 intake information

It is anticipated that the registration period for the 2020 intake of the Scheme will open in February 2020 and people will be able to register through the Ministry’s website.


Introduction to new staff in the Ministry’s Health Workforce Directorate

In the last update, Judy McGregor introduced the new Health Workforce Advisory Board. I would also like to share with you some recent senior appointments in the Health Workforce Directorate as we embed our new structure following the recent changes.

Many of you will already know Danilo Coelho de Almedia. I am pleased to announce that he has accepted a position as Manager of the Health Workforce Commissioning team, which is responsible for the contracting and administration of our health workforce funding.

Amy Wilson has been appointed as Group Manager Policy and Insights.  Amy comes to us from the Ministry of Defence where she was recently the Director of HR Policy, Remuneration and Research. She has also led and worked in data and analytics functions across several Ministries.

Daniel Glover, who many of you will have worked with, is leaving us on 20 January and Robyn Ward will be joining us as Manager Sector Engagement and Implementation. Robyn comes to us from Martin Jenkins and she has significant experience in developing and implementing strategy, stakeholder engagement and leading complex projects. I’d like to acknowledge the contribution Daniel has made in his time with the Ministry and wish him every success in his future endeavours.

Laura O'Sullivan will be starting in January as the new Policy and Strategy Manager. Laura is currently a Policy Director at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Prior to that she was at Health Education England as a Senior Policy Manager and she also spent three years at the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Standards Compliance Manager.

Shilpi Sharma is also starting in January as the Manager, Office of the DDG. Shilpi is coming to us from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment where she is a Business Manager in one of the policy groups and her team are responsible for managing the accountability cycle across 7 different Ministers’ offices. She brings a lot of experience in relationship management and government processes.


I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday period and I look forward to working with you next year.

Meri Kirihimete,
Anna Clark, Deputy Director-General, Health Workforce


Contact us

Contact details

Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora
133 Molesworth Street
Thorndon, Wellington, 6011
New Zealand.

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