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Workforce Advisory Committee Report Disappointing

Health Workforce Advisory Committee Report disappointing

NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

Health Workforce Advisory Committee Report is disappointing, says the NZMA

‘Although we need time to analyse the HWAC Report Future Directions -Recommendations to the Minister of Health 2003, our first impression is one of disappointment,’ says NZMA Deputy Chairman Dr Ross Boswell. ‘We had hoped it would provide a context for substantive progress in addressing problems in the medical workforce such as shortages of pathologists, psychiatrists and GPs, but it fails to do this.’

He says there are positive aspects. ‘The recommendations around healthy workforce environments and research and evaluation are important and helpful.’

‘However, the Report makes no attempt to address one of the key workforce issues - student debt. Although recent announcements of increased scholarship funding were very welcome, they do not provide a comprehensive or long term solution to this problem,’ he says. ‘If HWAC is not making recommendations around this issue, who is?’ Dr Boswell asks.

‘We are concerned that many of the recommendations rely heavily on action by DHBs and appear to shift much of the responsibility for workforce development to DHBs. Unless this is coordinated within a national operational framework by the Ministry of Health, efforts will be hugely fragmented. Similarly, within the primary care section there is heavy reliance on the place of PHOs, which will find it difficult to realise these expectations,’ Dr Boswell warns.

He says that the NZMA is concerned at the potential dissonance between the prescriptive regulatory environment the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act will create and the decentralised ‘generalised guidance’ included in the Report.

‘The NZMA’s Workforce Committee will seek an early opportunity to discuss the recommendations with HWAC,’ he says.

ENDS

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