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Issue: August 2019


Tēnā koutou katoa,

It is now two months since I started as Deputy Director-General Health Workforce. It's been a busy time with a lot happening. I've had the opportunity to meet many of you already and hope to meet many more as we collaborate on some exciting projects underway.


Health and disability workforce strategic priorities and action plan

Throughout the first half of this year we met with people from across the system who are committed to developing New Zealand's health and disability workforce and discussed what we can do together to support and develop the workforce. This culminated in a meeting at Te Papa in May 2019 where over 150 people from across the health and disability system came together to discuss workforce challenges and development.

At the meeting it became clear that there are a number of difficult and overlapping workforce issues. Participants agreed that as a collective we need to make sure that long-standing issues and critical workforce shortages are progressed alongside the delivery of the Government's health priorities and that everything we do needs to be underpinned by equity.

People then collaborated to develop ways that we can think about workforce development for the health and disability system. The three Cs were created - capability, capacity and culture and we've subsequently added a fourth - criticality. Capability is about making sure we have people with the skills that we need now and in the future, capacity means ensuring that we have a workforce that can meet the demands of the population and culture is about ensuring that we have the right environment for the workforce to succeed. Criticality means that pressing issues and shortages are addressed alongside longer-term workforce development.

After the workshop, a working group consisting of a mix of Ministry and sector representatives compiled the information that you provided. The group identified where we could best support the capability, capacity and culture of the workforce while also addressing critical workforce shortages.

View the draft framework and a summary of your feedback

We know that there is much happening already to develop the health and disability workforce. We’re pulling this information together and mapping out what’s happening across the wider health and disability system. We’ll identify what’s already underway, where we can link people and organisations and what we can do to support innovation across the system, which is what you told us you wanted us to do. By doing this we can also identify where there may be gaps and work with you on how we can address these together.

With a collective plan in place to underpin the development of the health and disability workforce we will be able to showcase and highlight the work and innovative practices that are underway across the health and disability sector/system.

We’ll provide you with a further update shortly, but in the meantime if there’s any work you have underway that you’d like us to know about, email us at info@healthworkforce.govt.nz. We look forward to hearing from you.


Update on rural health workforce initiatives

In his speech to the National Rural Health Conference in April this year, the Minister of Health acknowledged the role the rural health workforce plays in improving health outcomes and wellbeing for people living in rural areas and asked us to prioritise rural health workforce development.

In May we held a rural health summit, which many of you will have attended. The summit brought together more than 100 representatives from DHBs, primary health organisations, NGOs, Trust Hospitals, Tertiary and Vocational Training Providers, the Ministries of Health, Primary Industries and Social Development, professional colleges and kaupapa Māori organisations, as well as a range of health professionals and academics.

Four specific areas of focus were identified at the summit:

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

The Minister endorses these focus areas, and they will form the basis for future work on rural health workforce issues. We will continue to engage with you to develop the actions under these areas into a medium-term plan.

While we are developing the medium-term plan, we are already underway with three other initiatives focused on the rural workforce:

  • We’re getting inter-professional rural learning hubs scoped and there will be opportunities for the sector to contribute to this work
  • There are currently two rural immersion training programme sites in the North Island, and we’re in discussions with providers about setting up a third programme site in the South Island
  • We’re also supporting four nurse practitioner placements in rural settings. This is an excellent opportunity to develop this role and showcase how it can work to support rural communities.

I will be giving you updates on progress against these initiatives and the strategic priorities work in the months ahead.  Thank you all for your support so far. 

Ngā mihi
Anna Clark
Deputy Director-General, Health Workforce, Ministry of Health


Contact us

Contact details

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

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