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BNZ Report Shows Healthcare Businesses Struggling With Staff Shortages, But Bright Spots Remain

A new report from BNZ, Growing Forward – 2022 Health Sector Insights, which surveyed private healthcare providers, shows the sector continues to struggle with recruiting staff. Despite this, there are bright spots in technology adoption and strong optimism for financial performance into the future.

The survey covers 164 private healthcare BNZ customers at a management or ownership level from May to June 2022.

Staff shortages

BNZ Head of Health, Thom McKenzie, says, “As the leading bank to the healthcare sector, BNZ is well positioned to speak to a broad range of operators for their insights.”

“Workforce concerns have dominated headlines lately, and BNZ’s survey provides greater insight into these issues. We know that 75 percent of operators are currently impacted by staffing shortages, while 34 per cent are currently recruiting, with much more recruitment to come over the next year,” says McKenzie.

“While the conditions are tough, this is a worldwide issue every country is struggling with. There is tremendous global demand for doctors, nurses, radiographers, administrators, and many other health sector roles.

“The World Health Organisation estimates a shortfall of 15 million health workers by 2030. This isn’t a uniquely New Zealand issue, and the fact that a quarter of our private operators aren’t struggling is perhaps good reason for optimism,” says McKenzie.

He says solutions are not confined to changing immigration settings.

Uptake of technology

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“While it’s important we get our immigration settings right to maximise our natural competitive advantages, the reality is we can’t simply recruit our way out of the problem. We need to be thinking about innovative solutions, providing new layers of workforce support, and looking at ways technology and innovation can help,” says McKenzie.

BNZ’s survey shows the uptake of technology in the sector is strong, but there are opportunities for improvement and further development.

“It’s pleasing that 63 percent of respondents said they were already using technology as much as possible, but equally the 37 percent who felt they could use more is an opportunity to lift our performance further,” says McKenzie.

McKenzie also notes that even in organisations with already well-established technology practices, there’s plenty of opportunity on the horizon.

“In an app-driven world, there are even greater efficiencies to be found in the way we spend our healthcare budgets, which if utilised well, can help further lift our healthcare outcomes. There are also new innovations in treatments, like utilising virtual worlds and gaming to help patients with depression, ADHD, and more,” says McKenzie.

Optimistic about the future

Overall, despite the challenges, BNZ’s report shows optimism and opportunity in the sector.

“BNZ’s Growing Forward report shows most healthcare organisations are optimistic for the future, with 61 per cent showing confidence in their financial outlook for the year ahead.

“New Zealand’s healthcare sector is vitally important, not just for the health and wellbeing of our country, but as a financial engine too, representing nearly ten percent of our GDP. There’s a tremendous amount of growth potential in the years ahead. Unlocking that quickly is crucial for delivering better healthcare and financial outcomes for New Zealand.

“We are confident in the sector and the sector members are confident in themselves -- this is a resilient, innovative, and hardworking bunch. Despite having endured a challenging number of years, overall, there’s optimism and a growth mindset that will help New Zealand into the future,” says McKenzie.

Click here for the full report: Growing Forward – 2022 Health Sector Insights

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