In response to the rapidly rising demand for the need to develop high quality health services for Pacific communities, Pacific Perspectives has undertaken research on behalf of the Ministry of Health to develop a Pacific Health Workforce Forecast through to 2020. The overarching objective underpinning the review is to inform the development of policies and strategies that will strengthen and sustain a Pacific health workforce for the future, contributing to improved health outcomes for the Pacific community.
The review provides an assessment of workforce issues as they relate to meeting the health needs of the Pacific population and encompasses both present and future focused analysis. Key findings included in the review are outlined below:
- The majority of people in the regulated Pacific workforce are nurses (77.8%)
- Due to variations with respect to dataset collection there is a lack of clarity with respect to the number of Pacific people in the unregulated workforce;
- Preliminary analysis of the datasets available concerning the unregulated workforce suggest that they are likely to comprise the majority of the Pacific health workforce;
- Preliminary analysis suggests that in-flows into the Pacific health workforce involve relatively few individuals with the numbers reducing over time as these individuals take on further advanced training;
- Pacific young people are relatively less likely to transition directly from secondary school to the training required to attain registration as a doctor or a nurse;
- Preliminary forecast analysis regarding existing numbers in the Pacific workforce of doctors and registered nurses suggest that by 2020 there will be a slight increase in numbers from 2011 levels;
- Results from a family based clinical scenario model suggest that a culturally competent workforce is vitally important.
The review contains four recommendations: implementation of an improved model of care; demonstrated leadership and coordination for effecting an improved model of care; resolution of identified issues within the Pacific workforce training pipeline and ongoing monitoring; a greater emphasis on coordination at a national level with a particular implementation focus on the Auckland region.
The research undertaken for the review was supported by a Pacific Expert Group who provided expert advice in Pacific health, allied health, the unregulated health workforce, the clinical workforce, management and health workforce training. It is expected that the full report will be released shortly by the Ministry of Health and published via their website.