Action plan has increased the visibility of the Kaiāwhina workforce

rehabilitation - pool

While only ten months since its implementation, the Kaiāwhina Workforce Action Plan (KWAP) is already making positive inroads to raising awareness and opportunities for this workforce.

Of the 56 actions in the five-year action plan, five have been implemented, and a further 36 are in progress by various sector stakeholders.

KWAP independent facilitator, Cathy Cooney, says the work to date is helping to establish a solid foundation for future actions to be built upon.

“The completed actions to date are in the career development and access to learning areas. This is providing new opportunities and solid base to support future actions, all of which will help increase the competence and confidence of people working in roles across the health and disability sectors.”

Cathy adds that a positive step forward is the opening up of continued career development and training opportunities for Kaiāwhina in a range of specialty areas. For example learning in fields like dementia, palliative care, autism, brain injury along with enhanced home support after serious injury.

The Kaiāwhina are also starting to be seen as a vital link in freeing up other health professionals to practice at the top end of their scope.

KWAP is one of the six workforce action programmes in the Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) strategic plan. HWNZ Acting Director, Margareth Attwood says that another positive outcome since the Kaiāwhina plan became operational is the steadily increasing profile and understanding of this workforce and its role in the health and disability sectors. The recent inclusion of the Kaiāwhina workforce in the Ministry of Health’s Health of the Health Workforce Report is evidence of this.

“Typically, the work of those in the support and care roles has not been very visible, and their contribution not fully appreciated for the value they add to the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders,” Margareth adds.

“Due to the work of multiple stakeholders involved in the implementation of the plan, there is increased understanding of the importance of Kaiāwhina as part of a team which enables improved outcomes for consumers in community, primary and public health care, and in residential care and hospitals.”

Kaiāwhina Workforce Action Plan outcomes also include:

  • raised awareness of quality and satisfaction for the consumer of health and disability services
  • increased awareness of the required competencies within the workforce
  • growing stronger networks and collaboration within and across the health and disability sectors so organisations and members of the workforce do not feel like they are working in isolation
  • coherency of communication and purpose –providing a unified story and repository for a workforce that is diverse and has been somewhat fragmented.

Kaiāwhina Leadership

The Kaiāwhina taskforce, one of six coordinated through Health Workforce New Zealand, has 23 members from a diverse number of organisations in the sector. Having this influential and knowledgeable group around the table has provided a forum for discussions which is helping to drive change.

Updated 8 April 2016