Workforce planning capability development in NSW Health

Mar 16
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NSW Health is the largest health care system in Australia, and one of the largest in the world. Each year, NSW Health cares for millions of people and oversees billions of dollars worth of investment in patient care, buildings, equipment, technology and research. NSW Health employs around 108,000 staff (full-time equivalent 2014-15). NSW Annual Report 2015-16

Understanding workforce needs and requirements for such a broad, diverse and complex workforce can be challenging. Clear alignment of strategy, policy, planning and operational requirements is key to ensuring that the optimal skilled and capable workforce is available to meet the healthcare needs of the people of NSW.

The NSW Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022 provides a blueprint of the strategies to ensure NSW can train, recruit and retain doctors, nurses, midwives, oral health practitioners, allied health professionals and other clinical staff in order to provide health services for NSW communities.

More of the same is not the answer

The Plan recognises that more of the same is no longer the answer and that it will be a challenge for NSW Health to build a workforce of the size required to meet forecast growth based on current health service patterns and models of care.

The Plan identifies who is responsible for the development and delivery of initiatives, recognising that there are many organisations that contribute to the successful provision of health services across NSW Health.

The NSW Ministry of Health’s Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012–2022 aims to address the long-term projected workforce needs of NSW Health. The Plan provides the policy objectives, and local and collaborative activities – working with NSW Health Agencies, the Commonwealth, specialty medical colleges and universities – to ensure that NSW trains, recruits and retains appropriate numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives and allied health professionals in the appropriate locations.

The cornerstone of the framework is Stabilising the Foundations:

  • Multi-faceted and multi-owned solutions
  • Integrated and comprehensive workforce planning

On this cornerstone rests the Building Blocks for the health professional workforce – providing the culture and working environment in the health system:

  • Provide effective working arrangements
  • Develop a collaborative health system
  • Support local decision making
  • Develop effective health professional managers and leaders

The foundations and building blocks provide the platform to realise the vision Right People, Right Skills, Right Place:

  • Recognise the​ value of generalist and specialist skills
  • Grow and support a skilled workforce
  • Effective use of our health care workforce

The Plan is being implemented against a complex background of factors such as the shift in health needs from acute to chronic care settings, the greater emphasis on the need for effective primary and preventative health care, the geographic distribution of the populations of NSW, the affordability of health care and inequities of health outcomes, such as those that occur in Aboriginal and rural and remote communities.

Initiatives designed to meet the strategic goals of the Plan are developed for 1-2 years, 2-5 years and 5-10 years.

Change management

My focus at the Workforce Capability & Skills Management conference will not be to highlight generic workforce planning methodologies that are currently documented and widely accessible.

Instead I will be focusing on the relevant, practical and demonstrated ways we have engaged large and diverse groups of stakeholders in the process and development of robust Workforce Planning approaches, including outcomes. These include governance arrangements and specific strategies to more closely align the relationship between workforce and service planning.

In addition I will be discussing a number of change management approaches, real life experiences and solutions used to reduce the disruptive impacts on a large workforce that are often associated with the introduction of new Information Technology (IT) and Systems across large user bases. These include but are not limited to HR Payroll, Rostering and Learning Management systems.

I will also highlight structured and consistent approaches being undertaken to ensure that all relevant workforces have the capabilities to support and deliver clinical and corporate services to meet the demand of the NSW Health community.

Brian Shimadry will be speaking on ‘Workforce planning capability development’ at the Workforce Capability & Skills Management Conference. Book your place by April 8th to save $400 on ticket prices.

Workforce Capability

Submitted by Brian Shimadry

Brian Shimadry

Brian Shimadry is Director, Workforce Planning & Performance
Ministry of Health, NSW. He has been working in the area of health for over 27 years both in Australia and overseas. Brian’s current role is as the principal workforce planner for the NSW Health system that leads, coordinates and contributes to the development and implementation of workforce planning and associated initiatives that support the planning of clinical and corporate services.

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