Final Annual Report - Health Workforce Australia

Boosting Productivity

Page last updated: 18 May 2015

National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action 2011-2015

The National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action 2011-2015 provided an overarching, national platform to guide health workforce reform. The work delivered under this framework provides an important contribution to addressing challenges in relation to workforce productivity, retention and distribution.

The framework sought to:

  • Set broad parameters for the system as a whole recognising that HWA can only be one contributor to the necessary reforms of the health workforce;
  • Encourage the development of new models of health care delivery;
  • Facilitate inter-professional practice;
  • Identify how to equip health professionals for current and emerging demands on the healthcare sector;
  • Progress the new workforce models and reforms that are essential to address workforce imbalances; and
  • Ensure Australia’s health workforce can meet increasing demands for services from an ageing population, increasing levels of chronic disease and community expectations.

Addressing Barriers and Enablers to Workforce Reform

The Addressing Barriers and Enablers to Workforce Reform project investigated how industrial relations and legislation impacts on reform of the Australian health workforce. Drawing on the available evidence and advice from the health sector, the project looked at how industrial agreements, legislation, capability and culture of the health system, employers and the workforce impact upon the productivity, capacity and distribution of the workforce.

National Common Health Capability Resource

The National Common Health Capability Resource was developed to support workforce innovation and reform activity in the health and education sectors. The easy to use guide outlines the common behaviours required of the health workforce in the delivery of patient-centred care in Australia.

The resource, which promotes a capability-based rather than roles-based approach to healthcare delivery, sets out the common behaviours expected of the health workforce across four levels. It is designed to support the health workforce to respond to growing and changing community needs and to promote collaborative practice across roles, organisations and locations, and with consumers, their families and carers.

Leadership for Sustainable Change

The Leadership for Sustainable Change programme worked closely with state, territory and health industry partners to develop tools and programmes to realise the potential of Health LEADS Australia – an Australian Health Leadership Frameworkand support the national development of health leaders.

Expanded Scopes of Practice

The Expanded Scopes of Practice (ESOP) programme was an important part of HWA’s work to create a more productive, sustainable and consumer-centred health and aged care system.

The programme focused on three expanded roles:

  • Advanced practice in endoscopy nursing to increase capacity and productivity in gastrointestinal endoscopy to help meet an increasing demand;
  • Extending the role of paramedics to provide care to patients in their usual place of residence, thereby reducing the number of emergency department admissions and transfers to other health facilities; and
  • Expanding the scope of practice of nurses and physiotherapist in emergency departments to assist with managing the increasing number of patients presenting to emergency departments.

Advanced practice in endoscopy nursing

This project was designed to respond to the national trend of increasing demand for endoscopic procedures and the need to enhance the capacity and capability of the workforce to cope with this demand.

Extended Care Paramedics

Extended Care Paramedics (ECPs) are experienced paramedics with advanced training and skills in patient assessment, delivery of quality care and coordination of appropriate referral pathways. ECPs treat identified patients in collaboration with other health professionals, in their usual place of residence, which helps to reduce emergency department presentations and inter-facility transfers.

HWA funded four ambulance services across five sites in South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory to test an existing ECP model to look at how the model could be adapted to meet local need and conditions.

Aged Care Workforce Reform

The Aged Care Workforce Reform programme funded 26 projects nationally in not-for profit, public and private health and aged care settings across Australia.

The projects were funded to implement new workforce models across four streams:

  • Safe medications management;
  • Planned healthcare in residential aged care;
  • Early intervention in functional decline; and
  • Complex care coordination.

Assistant and Support Workforce

An analysis of the assistant and support workforce was conducted. The analysis consisted of their current use and management to identify their contribution and fit to the healthcare team, and the whole-of-workforce reform agenda.

This covered roles, function, scope of practice and models of care and the barriers and limitations to their optimal and most productive use for best care.

Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway

The HPPP sets out a nationally consistent approach to prescribing by health professionals other than doctors. The pathway focused on:

  • Education to prescribe medicines;
  • Recognition, maintenance and enhancement of competence to prescribe; and
  • Models of safe prescribing within the professional’s scope of practice.

Nursing Workforce – Retention and Productivity

In response to the shortage of nurses projected in HW2025, this project was established to make recommendations to improve nursing retention and productivity in Australia.

Mental Health Workforce Study

The Mental Health Workforce Study aimed to build the evidence on workforces delivering services to mental health consumers, to understand the existing workforce and support future workforce planning.

National Cancer Workforce Strategy

At the request of key stakeholders, HWA developed and published a National Cancer Workforce Strategic Framework (NCWSF) in June 2013, the first framework of its kind in Australia. The NCWSF contains 25 workforce strategic actions which, if adopted, will add value to what is already underway and facilitate shifts to a more effective way of working. The NCWSF draws on the description of optimal pathways of care in the National Services Improvement Framework for Cancer, acknowledging the critical points for opportunity for cancer workforce innovation and reform. The aim of the framework is to prepare a sustainable, flexible, skilled workforce to support an integrated cancer control system delivering safe, effective consumer-centred care.

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