Health of the Health Workforce

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Health of the Health Workforce

2013 to 2014

A report by Health Workforce New Zealand
Citation: Ministry of Health. 2014. Health of the Health Workforce 2013 to 2014. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Published in November 2014

by the Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013, Wellington 6145, New Zealand

ISBN 978-0-478-42890-2 (print)

ISBN 978-0-478-42891-9 (online)
HP 6006

This document is available at

ccby This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. In essence, you are free to: share ie, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format; adapt ie, remix, transform and build upon the material. You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence and indicate if changes were made.

Foreword from
the Board Executive Chair
Health Workforce New Zealand

The Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) Board is delighted by this first Health of the Health Workforce report. By itself, it signals that HWNZ has reached a level of maturity. In addition to an ongoing commitment to better regional educational infrastructure, the development of increasingly sophisticated career support and advisory systems, and the introduction of a transparent, accountable and contestable funding process, this report is only possible because HWNZ now has robust and reliable workforce intelligence.
Indeed, it is noteworthy that the New Zealand health system is much better informed about the current state of and future challenges for its workforces than any of the other members of the International Health Workforce Collaboration. The major contributor to this intelligence base has been the innovative and world-leading HWNZ health service forecasting methodology. On the basis of that intelligence, it is clear that the New Zealand health and disability workforce is in general good shape. However, there are some important shortages in the allied health workforce, and the medical workforce is not as well distributed against health need as it could be. Also, it is evident that there are other significant challenges facing the health system in regard to workforce.
However, these challenges are well understood, and corrective strategies are, or are being put, in place. The HWNZ Board believes that New Zealanders can be reassured that the health and disability workforce is largely and will increasingly be fit for purpose, affordable and sustainable.
Professor Des Gorman BSc MBChB MD (Auckland) PhD (Sydney)
Board Executive Chair, Health Workforce New Zealand

Foreword from the Director
Health Workforce New Zealand

This is HWNZ’s first report examining the health and disability workforce. It sets out what we know about the main occupational groups – doctors and dentists, nurses, midwives, allied health workers and non-regulated workers. Our goal is to ensure that the workforce is appropriately trained and configured to meet current and future needs, so New Zealanders can be confident that they will receive the very best care possible.
We are planning for an uncertain future. Changes in technology or shifts in the national or global economic outlook can turn traditional workforce planning on its head.
This report will not put exact numbers on how many nurses, GPs, sonographers or aged care workers New Zealand will need in a decade’s time. Such forecasting is an inexact science, akin to trying to predict the exchange rate 10 years hence. There are known variables that can drive the numbers up or down. What’s harder to predict is when or if these variables will come into play, and the impact of the unexpected.
Instead, we aggregate intelligence from a variety of sources to forecast future models of care. To identify and develop joined-up, mutually owned solutions to the challenges our sector faces, HWNZ has developed a taskforce and work programme for key workforces – doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health workers, non-regulated workers, and those in leadership and managerial roles. The focus will then shift to how these workforces can combine and align their efforts across new models of aged, primary and cancer care and other health priorities.
To inform our modelling, we are also seeking to improve the quality and quantity of data at our disposal.
This programme of work will enable us to develop more sophisticated responses to meeting the future health needs of New Zealanders.
Dr Graeme Benny

Director, Health Workforce New Zealand


Foreword from
the Board Executive Chair
Health Workforce New Zealand 3

Foreword from the Director
Health Workforce New Zealand 4

The health of the health workforce 6

Data sources 6

General workforce facts and figures 6

Doctors 7

Dentists 11

Nurses 11

Midwives 15

Allied health workers 18

Non-regulated workers (kaiāwhina) 19

Future prospects for joining the workforce 21

Medical workforce 21

Nursing 22

Midwifery 22

Allied health 22

Non-regulated workforce 22

Appendices 23

Appendix 1: Numbers of medical specialists per 100,000 population 23

Appendix 2: Ratios of trainee doctors to specialists 27

Appendix 3: Numbers of nurses per 100,000 population 28

Appendix 4: List of allied health professions 29

Appendix 5: List of non-regulated/kaiāwhina roles 30

List of Tables

Table 1: Medical workforce statistics 10

Table 2: Nursing workforce statistics 13

Table 3: Midwifery workforce statistics 15

Table 4: Allied health workforce statistics 18

Table A1: Number of nurses 28

List of Figures

Figure 1: Percentage of doctors aged 55+ in 28 OECD countries, 2000 and 2011 7

Figure 2: Hard-to-staff communities for doctors and GP trainees on the 2015 Voluntary Bonding Scheme 9

Figure 3: Trends in numbers of GPs and non-GP specialists 9

Figure 4: Hard-to-staff communities for nurses on the 2015 Voluntary Bonding Scheme 12

Figure 5: Distribution of levels of experience for nurses trained overseas and in New Zealand 14

Figure 6: Hard-to-staff communities for midwives on the 2015 Voluntary Bonding Scheme 17

Figure A1: Ratios of trainee doctors to specialists 27

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