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Health Workforce Advisory Committee A Step Closer

Health Minister Annette King has announced terms of reference for the Health Workforce Advisory Committee, and is seeking nominations for the body.

Mrs King said the committee would formally come into being following the passage of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill later this year, but the cabinet had now approved the terms of reference.

"The committee's key tasks include providing advice on national goals for the health workforce, and recommending strategies to develop an appropriate workforce capacity," Mrs King said.

"There are serious shortages across many areas of our health workforce. Many of the shortages can be attributed to a lack of planning, or a deluded belief the market would provide the workforce that was needed. The lack of planning is now preventing us moving as quickly as we want to move in making our public health service as good as it could be."

Mrs King said another key committee task would be to provide an independent assessment on the capacity of the current workforce, and the workforce needed to meet the objectives of the New Zealand Health and Disability strategies.

The committee would also facilitate cooperation between organisations involved with health education and training to ensure a strategic approach was developed on workforce issues, she said.

"The Labour-Alliance Government is committed to developing a strong and capable workforce as it is crucial to our goals of improving the health of New Zealanders and reducing disparities in health status."

Mrs King said nominations would close on October 27, and she expected the committee would start meeting early next year. "The committee of up to 10 members will have strategic skills, sector experience, credibility and a knowledge of health workforce issues. They will be drawn from a wide range of health sector groups, including medical, nursing, disability support, employer, education and consumer groups, and Maori and Pacific people."

Health Workforce Advisory Committee

Terms of Reference


The Health Workforce Advisory Committee (HWAC) is established under Section 12 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. The role of the Committee is to advise the Minister of Health on health workforce issues that the Minister specifies by notice to the Committee.

The advice given by the committee to the Minister is to be formulated after consultation with people involved in the funding and provision of services and any other people that the committee considers appropriate.

The committee will report its advice to the Minister of Health.


The committee is established by and accountable to the Minister of Health.

Key tasks

The committee's key tasks, in line with the requirements of Section 12 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, are to:

1) provide an independent assessment for the Minister of Health of current workforce capacity and foreseeable workforce needs to meet the objectives of the New Zealand Health and Disability Strategies

2) advise the Minister on national goals for the health workforce and recommend strategies to develop an appropriate workforce capacity.

3) facilitate co-operation between organisations involved in health workforce education and training to ensure a strategic approach to health workforce supply, demand and development.

4) report progress on the effectiveness of recommended strategies and identify required changes.

Other tasks may be undertaken as agreed between the Minister and the committee. In developing its advice, the committee may consider:
 What is currently known about workforce, in particular:
 a stocktake or analysis of previous reviews and reports
 patterns of shortage, excess or other imbalance in existing workforce capacity, geographically or in specific service areas

 The type of workforce required for the future
 Taking account of service, educational, societal and technological trends and public expectations

 The changes necessary to move from the present to a recommended health
workforce capacity
 utilising current system strengths that can be built on
 identifying barriers and possible resolutions

 Co-ordinated strategies or co-operative approaches to achieve necessary changes in education, training, recruitment and retention, and occupational regulation

 Any other issues impacting on workforce (eg, inter-agency or intersectoral issues, funding, training support)

 Such other matters as the Minister specifies by notice to the Committee.

Working arrangements

After discussion with the Ministry of Health, the committee will agree an annual work programme with the Minister of Health. A committee secretariat providing professional and advisory support to HWAC will be based in the Ministry of Health.

In developing its advice the committee should:

 adopt an evidence-based approach;

 where possible, build on existing and previous reports and policy work or models for describing and predicting future workforce requirements, and make use of existing statistics or information collected by other sector organisations;

 consult with organisations and individuals as appropriate, including, among other, statutory bodies or policy agencies, health and disability support service providers, education or training organisations, registration bodies, professional organisations and unions, and consumer interest groups;

 commission, co-ordinate or undertake research projects for the development of advice;

 evaluate progress towards achieving the recommended workforce balance, including the effectiveness of current strategies;
 publish committee advice at least annually.


The committee shall comprise a maximum of 10 members, including the Chair and Deputy Chair, and all appointments will be made by the Minister.

Members will have strategic skills, sector experience, understanding and credibility, and knowledge of health workforce issues. Membership will be drawn from health professional groups, including medical, nursing and disability support interests, employer groups, educational and consumer groups, and people representing Ma~on and Pacific people's interests.

Nominations will be sought from health sector and consumer groups.

The committee may appoint specialist, professional or other subcommittees or establish working parties relevant to its agreed work plan.

Terms of committee members

Members of the committee shall be appointed for a term of up to three years. Members shall be eligible to serve a second consecutive term to allow for continuity and full use of increased experience and knowledge. Members shall have staggered retiring dates to ensure a degree of continuity.

Treaty of Waitangi

The committee shall undertake its tasks in a manner consistent with the principles of the treaty of Waitangi.

Performance measures

The committee will effectively be meeting its key tasks when it provides relevant and timely advice to the Minister of Health based on research, analysis and consultation with appropriate groups and organisations.

The committee must achieve its agreed work programme.

The committee must stay within its allocated budget.

Reporting requirements

Any discussion documents or working papers for consultation shall be provided for the Minister's consideration prior to dissemination.

The committee is required to:

 report as necessary, but at least once a year to the Minister of Health on the outcome of its key tasks. The report is to include the committee's rationale for its advice and any relevant evidence and/or documentation;

 report on such other matters as the Minister specifies by notice to the committee, these reports to include the committee's rationale for its advice and any relevant evidence and/or documentation; and

 keep a record of all committee meetings which outline the issues discussed, and include a clear note of any decisions taken or recommendations made;

 provide a brief performance report to the Minister of Health within two months of the end of the financial year, detailing the work undertaken by the committee for the past year, and comparing its performance to its agreed work programme.

Frequency of meetings

The timing and frequency of meetings will be determined by the tasks the committee is obliged to fulfil. All meetings will be convened by the Chair (or Deputy Chair, as appropriate).

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