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Issue: November 2019


Kia ora koutou,

There is a lot going on in Health Workforce, and if I have not seen you at meetings or at the Ministry Forum, this is an opportunity to keep you updated on what's happening in the Health Workforce directorate.

The new Health Workforce Advisory Board Chair Judy McGregor also introduces the Board and there's a message from the outgoing Chair of the Interim Committee, Ray Lind.

Ministry Forum 2019

The Ministry held a forum on 29 and 30 October, bringing together nearly 500 people to reflect on successes, address challenges and shape efforts to deliver a strong and fair public health and disability system in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Health Workforce was a topic for one of the breakout sessions. I provided an update on the Health Workforce directorate, our priorities and plans for the next year and Judy McGregor who is the new Chair of the Health Workforce Advisory Board introduced the new Board (and there’s more from Judy below). Jo Baxter from the University of Otago’s Māori Health Workforce Development Unit discussed work she's done at the University of Otago to increase the number of Māori studying for and graduating with health qualifications and Sue Pullon from the University of Otago talked about the Tairāwhiti Interprofessional Education Programme that allows undergraduate students to undertake an immersion into a rural community.

If you were unable to attend the forum, you can find out more, including videos of the presentations on the Forum 2019 page on our website.

Rural Health Workforce Development

In our last update in August we talked about the work underway to grow the rural health workforce following the health workforce summit held in May, which many of you will have attended. Over the past few months we have been working hard to progress the planning around ideas that were generated by the discussions at the summit.

We’ve been engaging with rural stakeholders about rural interdisciplinary learning hubs, and what they could look like.  We’re also developing initiatives for the four focus areas identified at the summit. These are:

  • Technology (digital first by patient preference)
  • Inter-professional learning (including rural learning hubs)
  • Scaling up effective local innovations
  • Developing the future rural health workforce.


From 1 January 2020 paramedics will be formally recognised and regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. This will give assurance that paramedics are appropriately qualified and competent to practise. There are over 20 regulated professions in New Zealand including medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, midwives, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. The Act enables independent authorities to regulate health practitioners.

Nominations for members of a new Paramedic Council will be sought early in 2020. Once the Council is established, it will spend some time setting up the new standards and processes required before all paramedics have to be registered. Registration will mean all paramedics will need to meet set levels of competence and ongoing training in addition to their relevant qualification. The registration process is expected to be in place in the second half of 2020.

Just over 1,000 paramedics currently work for the two emergency ambulance providers St John and Wellington Free Ambulance. This workforce is expected to grow to 1,400 by 2021 as double-crewing becomes standard around the country.

Ngā manaakitanga,
Anna Clark, Deputy Director-General, Health Workforce


New Health Workforce Advisory Board

Kia ora tātou. I’m Judy McGregor and I have been asked by the Minister of Health to Chair the new Health Workforce Advisory Board (HWAB).

The Minister has confirmed HWAB’s terms of reference and I would like to welcome the following members to the Board; Andrew Connolly, Faumuina Faafetai Sopoaga, Jo Baxter, Lorraine Hetaraka, Sophie Oliff, Karl Metzler and Ailsa Claire who is replacing Helen Mason as the lead DHB CEO for health workforce.

You can see the full terms of reference and Board members’ bios on the Ministry’s website.

Our purpose is to work in partnership with the Ministry of Health to provide strategic oversight and sector leadership for New Zealand’s health workforce.

We have had our first face-to-face meeting on 25 October, and we introduced ourselves to those in the sector who attended the Ministry Forum on 29 and 30 October. It was great to see so many of you there.

As a new board, at our next meeting we are confirming the principles in which we will work, and developing our workplan. We are already committed to working together with the wider health sector and providing regular updates on progress.

We’re very keen to harness your support as the new Health Workforce Advisory Board.

From early next year, we’ll undertake stakeholder meetings to meet and listen to as many workforce representatives as possible in both the regulated and unregulated health workforce.

We are also keen to ensure we know of any health workforce related research publications (for example, the workforce effects of digital innovation; workforce ageing, human resource and wellbeing related material) so if you have something you would like to provide us, please send it to info@healthworkforce.govt.nz

Likewise, any policy or practice work as best practice exemplars to feed into advice would be gratefully received from all areas of the health sector.

We are meeting again on 29 November 2019, and we will provide an update after that meeting.

Below there is a message from Ray Lind of the interim committee. Ray and the Interim Health Workforce Committee did a fantastic job providing us a platform to work constructively with the Ministry and the sector on Health Workforce development opportunities. I want to thank them for undertaking this work. The new Board is excited about the challenges and opportunities of the new role.

Judy McGregor

Message from the outgoing Chair of the Interim Health Workforce Committee

The interim committee was asked for assistance with three items. The first two were to provide for the Minister of Health’s consideration some draft terms of reference and proposed membership for a new governance structure for health and disability workforce in New Zealand.

The third task was to provide advice and support to the Ministry’s Health Workforce directorate, as required.

I am proud to say that all three tasks were completed. I would like to thank the interim committee members: Helen Pocknall (Chair, Midwifery Strategic Advisory Group), Ken Clark (Chair, Medical Advisory Group), Jenny Carryer (Chair, Nursing Strategic Advisory Group), Jenny Black (Chair, West Coast & Nelson Marlborough DHBs) and Helen Mason (Chair of the Workforce Strategy Group and CE Bay of Plenty DHB).

This was completed in true partnership between the Interim Health Workforce Advisory Committee and the Ministry. We were able to do this by keeping above individual professional boundaries and having a collective joined-up approach while moving through our work plan, a model that I would endorse for the next iteration of health workforce governance.

I, and the rest of the interim committee, wish both the Ministry of Health, the Minister’s Health Workforce Advisory Board and the wider health sector the best of luck for the next phase of improving New Zealand’s health and disability workforce and I look forward to seeing future progress.

Ray Lind, Chair of the Interim Health Workforce Committee


Contact us

Contact details

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

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