Developing a sustainable, resilient and adaptable rural workforce for the future was the focus at an event in Christchurch this month.
Over 60 participants attended the South Island Rural Workforce Workshop at The Design Lab on 21 August, representing DHBs, education providers, PHOs, general practice, Trust Hospital, NZ College of Midwives, St Johns and Health Workforce New Zealand.Organised by the South Island Workforce Development Hub, Regional Programme Director Kate Rawlings says the aim of the workshop was to identify issues, vulnerabilities and gaps, showcase current initiatives underway or in development, and discuss opportunities for regional collaboration.
“This is the first time the South Island has had a joined-up discussion about the rural health workforce, so that was exciting – there was a real buzz to the conversations in the room. Going forward, we’ve identified opportunities to work together regionally, as we encourage effective service practices and build sustainability, while keeping in mind the challenges for our health professionals working and living in rural communities.”
With the support of the South Island Alliance Programme Office, the South Island Workforce Development Hub will now work through establishing the communication mechanisms and collective activities requested and suggested by the workshop participants, says Mark Leggett, General Manager of the South Island Alliance. “It was gratifying to see new connections being made throughout the day. People who work within the same ‘whole of system’ framework, but had never met before, came together to tease out the issues and priorities facing the rural sector. “The overall outcome of the day was that this was very much a first step in a longer path, but certainly one that built a firm foundation for next steps.”