Crampton: protect NZ health staff

Peter Crampton
Peter Crampton
New Zealand needs to recognise and protect its health professionals, the University of Otago’s outgoing pro-vice-chancellor of health sciences Peter Crampton says.

"My personal view is that overall workforce development is undercooked in New Zealand," he said.

"There is a vulnerability there, and that sheets right back, probably, to the underpinning legislation which insufficiently holds DHBs to account for workforce development.

"With the immense and multiple pressures that DHB leaders are under, it’s all too easy to see workforce development diminish a bit in terms of their list of urgent priorities.

"It tends to work well, but I think the system could be strengthened."

Prof Crampton is about to step down after seven  and a-half years as pro-vice-chancellor, to be replaced by Otago Dental School dean Paul Brunton.

Prof Crampton is also relinquishing his post as dean of Otago Medical School, but will remain in the job until his successor is appointed.

He will continue teaching and carrying out research work at Otago.

Prof Crampton said a greater emphasis on medical workforce career development might help stem the tide of recently qualified medical professionals heading overseas.

"We contribute a whole bunch of our superbly trained health professionals to the world — we can’t stop them going — and their contributions to humanity are in other countries," Prof Crampton said.

"That is a modern reality, and we have to accept that churn.

"I wouldn’t catastrophise that, but I do think there is a lot we can do to make our workforce feel valued, cared for and to make them want to stay in the [New Zealand] health workforce."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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