Health Workforce New Zealand sector engagement workshops

On 1 and 2 May 2018, Health Workforce New Zealand held two sector engagement workshops at Te Papa.

The opportunity was provided for health representatives to engage with visiting international experts and to encourage the generation of sector-led ideas to respond to some pressing problems, before the development of a Workforce Strategy begins.

To help get the most out of the limited available time with the international experts, each day had a focus, which were:

  • gathering and discussing ideas for developing a flexible and sustainable medical workforce into the future
  • gathering and discussing ideas on retention issues, with a particular focus on Nursing and Midwifery.

The international experts who volunteered their time were:

  • Dr Tom Aretz, Partners Healthcare International, USA.
  • Prof Erin Fraher PHD, MPP, Assistant Professor – UNC Chapel Hill
  • Dr Paul Rockey, Accreditation Council for Graduate Education, Chicago
  • Dr Clese Erikson, Deputy Director of the Health Workforce Research Centre, George Washington University
  • Dr Steve Slade, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • Professor Ivy Bourgeault, University of Ottawa
  • Mary Lewis, Head of Workforce Planning, Workforce Planning and Intelligence Directorate, Health Education England

Dr Aretz, Professor Fraher and Dr Rockeys’ presentations are available to download from this page.

Emerging discussions from the wider context

Effective workforce planning requires plasticity – adapting to changing environments and needs

We need to break away from silos and service/professional tribalism

We have a social responsibility to tackle the inequities that persist – care in NZ depends on who you are, where you are and what’s wrong with you.

We have reached a tipping point where even those with vested interests accept the need for change.

That means major culture change, courage to do things differently and acceptance that status quo isn’t an option.

We need to share what’s working, celebrate and build on what’s good; a combination of good data/information and stories.

Summary of key themes

First and foremost, workforce planning has to be population based and needs based with the consumer at the centre. One size doesn’t fit all – we need effective engagement to understand what communities want.

We need a team-based approach to workforce design along the lines of the Calderdale framework. There is an ‘unhealthy ignorance’ of scopes and roles between professions and sectors; we need to facilitate conversations that consider professional commonalities and distinctions and look at task sharing and how we can support the role of whanau as experts.

There is a disconnect between health and education. We need to facilitate collaboration between the two sectors at policy, strategy and delivery levels. We need to be purposeful about aligning recruitment to training to need, including placements and facilitate interdisciplinary training all levels.

We need to view the workforce as a precious resource, not a cost to be managed. That involves recognising the context - that work is psychologically stressful and burnout, compassion fatigue, bullying and violence are common. A great deal of health care is undervalued because we can’t or don’t measure it. We need to recognise, value and increase visibility of skills that are not credentialed, including social skills, touch, trust, personal care, ‘watchful waiting’ visibility. Gender matters.

We need to address barriers to retention and return at all stages from undergraduate level to retirement for all professions.

Summary of ideas

There were hundreds of ideas generated each day, we have distilled these into themes and you can download them below:

What’s next?

The workshops were only on two specific topics, and we are grateful for those that could help develop potential ideas to solutions for some of our key health workforce challenges.

Health Workforce New Zealand will be having future workshops and other sector engagements to continue to progress and gather your ideas and feedback from the sector.

By developing these potential ideas to solutions for some of our pressing problems, it has given us a head-start for the future development of the broader National Health Workforce Action plan, which we are currently confirming the timing of.

If you would like to receive updates from Health Workforce New Zealand please email info@healthworkforce.govt.nz and ask to be added to the stakeholder distribution list.

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