New strategic governance for health workforce
The Ministry has made changes to the leadership of health workforce strategy and planning and has established a new stand-alone Health Workforce Directorate. In December 2018, the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield updated the sector on this change, highlighting the intention to strengthen the Ministry’s focus and capacity on health workforce issues, ensuring the Ministry is better able to support the wider sector.
“It is also timely to refresh our approach to workforce strategy and planning by clarifying the respective roles and functions of the Minister’s independent committee on health workforce (previously called Health Workforce New Zealand), District Health Boards and the Ministry,” said Dr Bloomfield.
As part of the transition process, the Ministry identified a small interim external advisory committee to support the transition to the new arrangements and advise on the refreshed Terms of Reference and membership of the Section 11 Committee.
This Interim Advisory Committee held its first meeting on 13 February 2019 and follow-up meetings in February and March. The Interim Committee is chaired by Ray Lind (former Chief Executive Officer, Careerforce) and members are Helen Pocknall (Chair, Midwifery Strategic Advisory Group), Dr 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). They are working closely with Ministry’s Health Workforce Directorate.
Key discussion points from the Interim Advisory Committee's first meeting include:
workforce planning and development is underway across the sector in a range of settings
the challenges relating to workforce and planning and the need for transparent workforce planning
how the existing Advisory Groups provide a vital connection between the sector and Ministry.
The Interim Committee members would like to acknowledge the work and efforts by the former HWNZ Board under Professor Des Gorman's leadership since 2009, as well as Board members past and present who were fully committed to providing strategic leadership and insight on health workforce challenges.
The Interim Committee has now considered other relevant Section 11 committees’ terms of reference and working with the Ministry, has developed draft Terms of Reference which will imminently be sent to the Minister of Health for his consideration.