Media Releases

Complete lack of health workforce planning a disaster for health system

2 December 2013

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) has learned that the reason why all first year graduate doctors have found positions is because the Government has paid hospitals to take them. This year 24 new doctors were “surplus to requirements” until the Government stepped in; next year the number is expected to rise to 60.

NZNO associate professional services manager, Hilary Graham-Smith says, “Although the Nurses Organisation is pleased that all graduate doctors have jobs to go to, the situation is concerning and has wider implications.”

“Incentivising DHBs to take new graduate doctors is not a sustainable way forward for the health system in New Zealand. Having an agency in charge of health workforce planning who had no idea there would be more doctors than places this year is worrying.”

 “We are especially concerned that the problem of graduate support and positions for new nurses has not been resolved either. Fewer than half of new graduate nurses have got a job, which means that hundreds of graduating nurses have been forced to travel around the country attending interviews for very few positions.”

“The situation is untenable. Health Workforce NZ needs to do better. The nursing workforce planning forum on Friday was a start however HWNZ needs to work more closely with DHBs to prioritise and be committed to addressing this critical issue to ensure sustainable nursing into the future.  Nurses, doctors and other health professionals are not “units of labour”; they are highly trained professionals who have spent tens of thousands of dollars and years of training to provide quality healthcare to New Zealanders,” Hilary Graham-Smith says.

“Planning for a sustainable workforce, with enough nurses and doctors being trained for the positions available must be a priority.”

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