Health Workforce Planning: an urgent need to link islands of expertise




health workforce, health and disability, system transformation, education reform


This article provides a snapshot of the legislative framework for, and ministries and agencies involved in or with influence over, the
education of the health and disability workforce, including examples of disconnection between the wider health and education sectors.
Particular challenges occur between health professional regulators, education providers and clinical (placement) providers because their respective areas of expertise tend to be siloed, thus reducing the capacity for a coordinated and holistic perspective. Four potential ‘bridges’ for linking these ‘islands’ of expertise are suggested. The current period of institutional reforms in the health and education sectors presents an opportunity to refine the structures and systems for workforce education and planning, thereby facilitating a more flexible, responsive and resilient workforce which is better equipped to engage with, and improve outcomes for, the wider community.


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Author Biographies

Susan Shaw, Auckland University of Technology

Susan Shaw has a wide background in education and health, including as an associate dean in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at Auckland University of Technology. She is currently the principal investigator on a project reenvisaging health professional education.

Naomi Heap, Te Whatu Ora

Naomi Heap works for Te Whatu Ora Waitematä District, primarily in medical education, but is currently undertaking seconded roles as wellbeing lead and a project manager in Te Whatu Ora Northern Region. Her interests a lie across health, wellbeing, and education for health professionals.