The Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022, identified 5 small but critical workforces which require attention in order to meet the needs of a changing health care service in NSW. In response to the Plan, the following workforce groups have been a focus for horizons scanning.
- Diagnostic Imaging Medical Physics (DIMPS)
- Radiopharmaceutical Sciences
- Prosthetics and Orthotics
In addition, further small but critical workforces have been identified such as Genetic Counselling where work has been undertaken to identify the emerging issues in the context of the changing landscape of the health care environment. Further information can be found below in relation to the specific workforce mapping projects completed.
Another key strategy identified in the Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022, is to build multi-faceted and multi-owned solutions. In line with this strategy, Workforce Planning and Development have worked with Local Health Districts and pillars in NSW to consider workforce implications of changing models of care. This has included:
- Pharmacy and the Electronic Medications Management Systems
- My Food Choice, changes to the HealthShare Food Service Delivery Model
Diagnostic Imaging Medical Physicists (DIMPS)
In April 2014, NSW Health Commissioned Francis Group International (FGI) to conduct horizons scanning pertaining to the DIMP workforce, and to develop workforce scenarios through consultation with key stakeholders.
The consultation approach utilised was designed to canvas a broad representative range of expert views on the critical risks and opportunities facing the DIMP workforce, whilst also building cumulative insight and consensus on these risks and opportunities to inform future action planning.
The resulting report provides valuable information about this workforce, clarifying concerns that had previously been difficult to understand. It has also identified strategies that may assist with strengthening this workforce for NSW Health.
The DIMPS Horizons Scanning Report has been validated through consultation with the Local Health Districts, and the recommendations are considered for further action.
Radiopharmaceutical Scientists (RPS)
Radiopharmaceutical science is a multidisciplinary field encompassing chemistry, physics and biology. It is the science of incorporating a suitable radionuclide in to a pharmaceutical or other biologically active molecule in vivo physiological or biochemical processes. The resulting radiopharmaceuticals are used in the diagnostic imaging or therapy of patients.
A Radiopharmaceutical Scientist (RPS) is a specialist profession with a chemistry, pharmacy or sciences background and is involved in the design, manufacture and analysis of radiopharmaceuticals. By utilising their scientific knowledge and analytical skills, RPS also provide knowledge and guidance on the safe use of these products in the clinical environment.
To enhance the understanding of this small but critical workforce in the NSW Health context, a Radiopharmaceutical Scientists Factsheet has been designed and validated through consultation with key stakeholders. The factsheet contains valuable information about the RPS workforce which will be of use to those considering a career as a RPS. It will also be of assistance to NSW Local Health Districts, health services and other organisations whose role it is to support the ongoing development of this workforce.
The Changing Landscape of the Genetic Counselling Workforce
The NSW Ministry of Health is committed to work that supports small but critical workforces in NSW Health, including the genetic counselling workforce. The Ministry commissioned a stakeholder consultation process to gather evidence on the changing landscape of the genetic counselling workforce.
The final report of The Changing Landscape of the Genetic Counselling Workforce suggests that genetic counsellors are an adaptable workforce that is providing valued and important services across the NSW Health system. It also identifies several emerging challenges currently affecting the delivery of genetic care in NSW and looks at major areas which will influence future workforce planning.
Pharmacy eHealth Workforce Initiative
We are pleased to release the Pharmacy eHealth Workforce Initiative report on the workforce analysis recently undertaken with regards to the implications of the implementation of Electronic Medications Management (eMeds) for the hospital pharmacy workforce. The project was particularly interested in workforce, workflow and work task impacts likely to result from the transition from a paper based to an electronic medications management system. For background information, a literature review was also conducted.
As the implementation of eMeds progresses, lessons continue to be learnt about local implementation processes and there are a range of contextual considerations that will impact the workforce.
We recommend the useful workforce planning tools to LHD’s in NSW, which were developed to assist service planners to consider the workforce implications when implementing eMeds. These can be found in Section Eight of the report, at page 81.
We acknowledge that the journey to full implementation of eMeds across the State is a long one, and each LHD will have it’s own story, however, analyses like this will assist decision-makers and planners to prepare the way.
Aboriginal Podiatry Workforce and Diabetes
In March 2016, NSW Health commissioned Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) to investigate the impact workforce strategies on diabetes related foot disease (DRFD) across NSW Aboriginal communities.
The report, Addressing Diabetes-Related Foot Disease in Indigenous NSW
, provides a scan of evidence available on diabetes related foot diseases and related workforce approaches among the Aboriginal population of NSW. The evidence reviewed covers the prevalence of DRFD, interventions successful in addressing DRFD and Aboriginal health conditions, and workforce approaches to DRFD and Aboriginal health.
The findings suggest a range of strategies that may be useful in preventing and managing DRFD among Aboriginal people in NSW. The report will now inform NSW Health’s investigations into podiatry workforce strategies that will address these concerns.
The word Indigenous when used in this document is inclusive of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
Dietitian and Nutrition Assistant Workforce Mapping
In 2014, HealthShare NSW, began the process of transforming the delivery of patient food services by piloting a new service delivery model. In May 2015, the Workforce Planning and Development Branch of NSW Health, commissioned Urbis to undertake research to improve understanding of a key component of the allied health assistant workforce in NSW: the nutrition and dietetic assistant workforce. The key aim of this project was to improve understanding of the dietitian and nutrition assistant workforce in relation to the Food Services Meal delivery reforms occurring in NSW Health.
The Final Report of the Dietitian and Nutrition Assistant Workforce Mapping Project
is a landmark report in that it has captured a clear understanding of how the dietary support workforce in NSW has developed over the years, across different worksites and under different management structures. Those involved in this research have confidence that the report provides valuable information about the different roles and domains of the dietary support workforce, including the historical, personal and contextual influences on their roles.
The findings presented in the final report may be valuable to inform service planning in NSW Local Health Districts and will contribute to improvements in both the patient food experience during hospital stays, and patient nutritional outcomes.