NACCHO workforce news : Download the Independent Review of Health Workforce Programs Released


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Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek today released the final report of the independent review into Australian Government’s health workforce programs.

The report makes 87 recommendations covering Commonwealth programs that target the medical, dental, allied health, nursing and midwifery and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforces.

If you would like to make comment about this report there is a feedback section at ther bottom of this page

Download Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

NACCHO comments

Upon reading chapter 5, NACCHO has  noted that it contains much information provided to the various contributors of this review, from our sector.

NACCHO has participated in various degrees with some of the contributors: for example but not limited to:

  • National Health and Hospital Reform
  • The Workforce Roundtable consultation
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Project
  • CS&HISC environmental Scan
  • The Battye Review (subsequent report)
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework 2011-15
  • Lowitja Report

 It was pleasing to see that these consultations had value.

 The chapter highlights achievements but also addresses many of the challenges that still need to be addressed and recommendations that cannot be ignored if the Australian government are to significantly increase the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health workforce.

It addresses pay equity and funding of RTO’s. It promotes the continued funding of peak Aboriginal bodies.

The Review identifies the Blueprint for Action (the Pathways Paper) and some of the key recommendations within the Pathways Paper namely;

  •  The  need to provide training in career guidance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education workers and roles to supplement those of existing careers advisors;
  •  Education institutions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health  personal and communities should work in partnership to develop a culturally–inclusive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health curriculum in a multidisciplinary manner; and
  •  Tertiary education providers should consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on a whole-of-institution strategy to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in health courses. Strategies should include student support and curriculum matters.

The recommendations at the conclusion of chapter 5, if taken up by Government (namely the Commonwealth), will be the some key steps in building the workforce within our sector: i.e. (abbreviated recommendations)

Recommendation 5.1: must be coordination of activities aimed at building the capacity of theAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce..

Recommendation 5.2: continuation of funding to peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies/networks…

Recommendation 5.3: continue consultation with National Congress of Australia’s First people’s National Health Leadership Forum….

Recommendation 5.4:build on the success of LIME by reconfiguring this group to include support and mentoring for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary level health professions including nurses, midwives, dentists and allied health professions….

Recommendation 5.5: develop and implement a new program aimed at; increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health student enrolment and graduate numbers, and pursuing the development of culturally appropriate curriculum into all health courses…

Recommendation 5.6:  compliment 5.5 by the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic leaders/champions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support networks that would provide culturally appropriate mentoring, counselling….

Recommendation 5.7: take action to implement those recommendations directed to the RTO as outlined in the Battye Review……

Recommendation 5.8: consider options for the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Policy Adviser role…

Recommendation 5.9: the NT Medical Program Indigenous Transitions Pathway program to be evaluated to assess outcomes

Recommendation 5.10:  is a DWEER program responsibility re investigating the connectivity of education and training sectors from school through the VET sector and onto undergraduate studies, with multiple entry points for younger and mature students

Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek

“I commissioned this review of our health workforce programs to ensure that Australian communities have access to a highly qualified health workforce now and into the future,” Ms Plibersek said.

“As a first step in responding to the review, I have accepted the report’s recommendations to provide a more advanced system for classifying rural locations and areas of workforce need to determine eligibility for support and funding through many Commonwealth workforce programs.

“This will build on and update the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system, providing customised enhancements to current methods of determining eligibility for program support.

“I have announced the formation of the Rural Classification Technical Working Group to guide the implementation of the improved classification system that will deliver a fairer and more sustainable method of determining the level of support doctors in each community receives. We will also consider the recommended reforms to the Districts of Workforce Shortage system as part of this process.”

Ms Plibersek said the Government will also develop a model for a new and more integrated rural training pathway for medical graduates, with the potential to extend this approach to other health disciplines.

“This model will be designed to build on the Government’s existing rural health training initiatives so that students who are interested in a career in rural health have a more seamless transition between their education, training and employment.

“The training model will be designed to improve the distribution of health professionals to rural areas, and if successful it will help deliver new doctors to areas of significant workforce shortages.”

The report was led by former Director General of the NSW Departments of Human Services and Community Services, Ms Jennifer Mason, and was informed through an extensive consultation process.

“I’d like to thank Ms Mason for delivering this important report, and for the health community’s involvement to help guide its development,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The report has raised a number of critical issues covering our health workforce programs and key reform areas. We will now carefully consider all the recommendations and any potential implications they may have,” she said.

The Australian Government has invested more than $5.6 billion into training the nation’s health workforce to deliver more doctors, nurses and other health professionals to where they are needed.

Download Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

One comment on “NACCHO workforce news : Download the Independent Review of Health Workforce Programs Released

  1. RHWA praises landmark report on health workforce programs

    Rural Health Workforce Australia (RHWA) welcomes the release of the final report of the Mason Review, the independent evaluation of the Federal Government’s health workforce programs.

    The report makes a number of important recommendations designed to improve the training and distribution of the health workforce to meet needs in rural and remote communities and to populations of extreme disadvantage, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
    “We believe this is a landmark document which will guide policy makers in how to create a more sustainable health system that delivers better access to primary healthcare,” says Greg Sam, CEO of RHWA.
    “The Mason Review has correctly identified that rural and regional based training pathways supported by well designed distribution and retention programs are significant health workforce issues requiring reform. Enhancements to these areas will provide a greater return on investment in training doctors, nurses and allied health professionals through reinforcing the professional and personal value of living and working in rural communities.”
    Mr Sam says RHWA and the Rural Workforce Agency network look forward to working with Government to implement key recommendations of the Mason Review.
    RHWA is one of several organisations that have been nominated by the Federal Health Minister for a technical working group to guide the implementation of a new rural classification scheme which supports payments and programs for doctors relocating to rural areas and for existing rural doctors.
    “We welcome the Mason Review focus on non-financial incentives such as family support, reliable locum services and options for professional development,” Mr Sam says. “These retention activities are critical and are provided by our Rural Workforce Agencies as part of their integrated support for health professionals.”
    making healthcare accessible
    Mr Sam also praised the Mason Review for highlighting the need for a coherent pathway for rural and regional education and training in order to build a sustainable domestic rural health workforce.
    RHWA is the national peak body for the state and territory Rural Workforce Agencies. These not-for-profit organisations attract, recruit and support health professionals to work in rural and remote Australia.
    Across Australia in 2011-2012, the RHWA and the Rural Workforce Agency network:
     Recruited more than 430 new doctors, nurses and allied health professionals for rural communities and Aboriginal Medical Services
     Facilitated 150,000 patient services via outreach specialist teams
     Supported 5,000 rural doctors and 1,500 rural practices
     Handled 10,000 inquiries from health professionals
     Assisted nearly 2,000 doctors with professional development services
     Arranged locum relief for 618 rural doctors, so they could take a break
     Supported 1,600 rural doctor families
     Engaged hundreds of medical, nursing and allied health students in positive rural experiences such as rural high school visits and Go Rural career events
    Media inquiries: Tony Wells, RHWA Communications Manager, 0417 627 916

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