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Proactive And Collaborative Approach Helping Workforce Pressures, But More To Do

With the World Health Organisation predicting that by 2030* there will be a global shortfall of 15 million health workers, and with primary care in New Zealand already desperately short of essential talent, leading healthcare provider ProCare is starting to see some real progress via a number of their proactive initiatives.

These initiatives include both talent and workforce development programmes domestically, but also include international campaigns and recruitment strategies. Working in tandem with this are the range of new innovations happening to the makeup of the primary care workforce itself, with more multi-disciplinary teams forming the teams within general practices.

Matt Prestwood, GM of People and Culture at ProCare says: “Having a strong, plentiful, but also diverse workforce is essential to continuing to deliver the most progressive, pro-active, and equitable health and wellbeing services to our communities.

“As a result, we’ve taken proactive and collaborative steps to ensure the sustainability of our workforce with everything from successful internships with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Auckland University, through to comprehensive nurse, Practice Manager and GP training programmes. We have exciting workforce support initiatives underway that are aimed at reshaping and improving the experience of becoming a general practitioner, in real and practical terms.

“We’re also running ongoing global recruitment drives to help top-up the talent we need in the short-term, and are continuing to diversify the way in which care can be delivered through blended models of virtual and in-person employment,” he continues.

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Bindi Norwell, Group Chief Executive at ProCare says: “Pre-covid, one of the biggest issues facing our network and the wider healthcare sector was workforce shortages. Now that we’ve seen a reduction in the number of covid cases and other respiratory issues such as influenza, there is more capacity to look ahead to try and problem solve around some of the big issues facing the sector such as workforce shortages.

“We also need to face issues head on, such as pay parity for nurses. When nurses in hospitals are paid more than primary care nurses, despite having the same qualifications, training and responsibilities as their Te Whatu Ora counterparts, it is little wonder primary care is struggling to recruit and retain nurses,” she continues.

“However, we know that organisations can’t do this alone. What’s needed is a national, industry-wide focus on workforce. Alongside this, we need the government to look at issues such as making it easier for doctors and nurses to immigrate to New Zealand and to give them faster access to residency,” she concludes.


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