Advice to Tertiary Education Organisations on Health and Disability Sector training priorities - June 2012
- Government Priorities for Health
- Target areas for training and workforce development
- Education and Training
- Regional Training Hubs
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has invited Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) to prepare a summary of priorities for Health and Disability sector training as part of the planning guidance material for Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs). The intention is to improve alignment between Government’s investment in tertiary education provision and its health priorities.
TEC and HWNZ are working to develop a common understanding of priorities and projections of trainees required to meet workforce needs out to 2020. This advice to TEOs marks an important milestone in our developing relationship with TEC and the education sector.
Summarised below are the key challenges facing the health and disability sector along with the Government’s response to meet these challenges while maintaining access to quality health and disability services for all New Zealanders.
The key areas of workforce focus to support the Government in achieving its objectives are also set out along with an explanation of how they relate to the table of training and education priorities.
Government Priorities for Health
The Health and Disability sector requires significant change to meet the following challenges:
- A rising number of older people with multiple long-term health conditions
- Rising consumer expectations
- Increasing burden of chronic disease and long-term conditions
- Changes in technologies
- Disparities in health status within the wider community
- The need to make better use of existing resources within a constrained fiscal environment.
These challenges reflect the large growth in demand for health services over the next 15 years at a time when the rate at which health service funding grows will slow down. Within this environment, improving New Zealanders’ health outcomes and raising the quality of health and disability services while living within a lower growth funding path are the main focus for the health and disability sector over the next three years. The Government intends to achieve this through delivering on the following areas:
- Providing better care closer to home
- Building a stronger health and disability workforce
- Supporting mental health
- Supporting people with disabilities
- Improving equity of service access
- Providing better maternity care and supporting children’s health
- Better prevention and early intervention
- Providing more operations, with reduced waiting times.
Underpinning these key areas is the focus on achieving clinical integration. Health care which is clinically integrated improves outcomes for patients and provides a better patient experience. In addition, more timely and efficient client-focused services can also be more cost-effective, reducing duplication of effort and achieving economies of scale.
Workforce plays a significant role in making this happen. Our collective approach to educating and training our health and disability workforce needs to continue to be updated and improve in order to meet the significant workforce challenges ahead.
We need a workforce that shares more of a common education and training base. More emphasis is required on skills and competencies needed for supporting client-centred services, working in teams and across clinical networks. Flexible, integrated teams will be a key part of emerging models of care and support.
Better recognition that people will want different types of careers and employment opportunities at different stages of their life will help ensure that working in the health and disability sector remains both attractive and fulfilling. Peoples’ skills need to be adaptable and the sector capable of redeploying people as needs change. A broader set of common training and competencies and better recognition of prior learning will minimise the amount of re-training and up-skilling required as people move through their career paths.
Target areas for training and workforce development
The following table translates the above summary into identified workforce and training priorities.
Education and Training
An integrated approach to the life long journey of learning and maturing as a health professional and as an individual. This integrated approach requires a strong and vibrant interface between the many working and learning environments operating in the New Zealand health sector. The interface can take many forms (from off-site education to e-learning environments) and will change over time as individuals’ career needs change.
From early 2012, HWNZ requires career plans to be in place for all trainees it funds. This is an important first step in ensuring that trainees, their employers and professional mentors have matched the workforce needs with the needs and aspirations of the trainee. Over time, as workforce roles become more flexible and skill sets more transferable, these career plans and training needs can be updated to better fit with an individual’s career journey. The following diagram sets out this whole of education continuum.
Regional Training Hubs
Health expects the regions to play a significant role in co-ordinating training in their area. HWNZ has collaborated with District Health Boards (DHBs), education providers and professional associations to establish four regional training hubs (hubs) to support effective health professional training.
The four hubs, each covering a population of approximately one million people, cover the four DHB regions:
- Northern (Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau and Northland DHBs)
- Midland (Waikato, Taranaki, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti DHBs)
- Central (Whanganui, Hawkes Bay, Midcentral, Wairarapa, Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley DHBs)
- South Island (Southern, Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast and Nelson Marlborough DHBs).
Initial project plans and governance structures were developed in the first half of 2011 with the hubs operational from 1 January 2012. Each hub has actively involved clinicians in the development process.
Each hub will appoint a Regional Programme Director of Training (Directors) by 1 August 2012. The Directors will be responsible for the overall management of a range of programmes and initiatives across the hubs.
Role of the hubs
- Standardising training/education programmes using educational principles and assessments in collaboration with the various colleges, educational providers, professional associations, DHBs, PHOs, private sector and HWNZ
- Co-ordinating clinical placements to support vocational training programmes
- Supporting trainees to develop and implement career plans and provision of mentoring services
- Providing peer reviewing and learning opportunities
- Sourcing traditional and non-traditional accredited student placements
- Ensuring workforce training aligns with national service delivery needs and regional clinical service plans
- Administering workforce initiatives, e.g. Voluntary Bonding Scheme, leadership development, Advanced Trainee Fellowship Scheme and support for HWNZ innovations such as the Diabetes Nurse Specialist with prescribing rights
- Implementing and overseeing a national skills and simulation based education strategy.
More information about the hubs can be found on the Regional Training Hubs webpage.