The interim New Zealand Health Plan, Te Pae Tata, identifies that strengthening primary and community care helps reduce the risk and burden of disease, reduces demand for more costly and intensive specialist care, and ultimately achieves better and more equitable health and wellbeing outcomes for New Zealanders.

So, Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora is introducing new funding to support the development of the primary and community health workforce.

The new funding will focus on further education and skills development for health workers in the primary and community care workforce (i.e. employed by PHOs, GP practices, Hauora Māori and Pacific community providers, or aged care providers).

Te Pae Tata also requires action with a strong focus on improving equity and access to primary health care. Research shows that expanding the skill mix available to primary care teams increases community access and improves equity outcomes. Comprehensive primary care teams within local provider networks support this and have a priority focus on Māori, Pacific, and rural people. 

Who can access this funding?

This primary and community care workforce development funding is only available to health workers employed in the primary and community care health workforce (i.e. employed by PHOs, GP practices, Hauora Māori and Pacific community providers, or aged care providers).

Other more specific eligibility criteria will apply to initiatives funded as a part of the Primary and Community Care Workforce Development Programme.

National fund for workforce development

A national fund is available to support primary and community care providers to attract, develop and retain health practitioners, through funding for postgraduate study courses, that support skills development in primary care settings.

How will the national fund for postgraduate study work?

Education providers will be funded to enable eligible health practitioners in primary care to participate in funded postgraduate study.

The funding can only be used for the full payment per paper of tuition fees and compulsory fees (usually paid by the student) as charged by the education provider, with no additional payment required from eligible health practitioners who enrol in these courses. The funding is not intended to fully fund the entire qualification.

This funding does not cover travel, accommodation, textbooks, equipment, meals, or release time. Applicants can work with their employer to access workforce development enablement funding which has been provided at a regional level (see below) to support equity of access and to enable the primary and community care workforce to take up these opportunities.

Eligibility for nationally funded postgraduate study for primary and community care workforces

To be eligible for this funding, health workers must:

  1. be employed in the primary and community care health workforce as a nurse, paramedic, or physiotherapist, and
  2. be a registered health practitioner with more than 12 months relevant clinical experience, and
  3. have a current practising certificate or equivalent, and
  4. be a New Zealand citizen or hold New Zealand permanent resident status conferred by Immigration New Zealand, and
  5. meet the entry criteria required by the applicable education provider.

Nationally funded postgraduate study for primary and community care workforces

In 2024, funded postgraduate study is available for the following primary and community care workforces:

 

*** If you are employed in primary and community care and your role is not included in the list below, please discuss with your employer as you may be eligible to access regional workforce development funding.

Physiotherapists

 

Paramedics

 

Registered Nurses

 

Please check for updates regularly. as this section will be updated as papers become available.

For further information contact: WDPCC@TeWhatuOra.govt.nz

Regionally funded workforce development for primary and community care workforces

Funding has also been allocated at a regional level to train, supervise and mentor people who may not have previously worked in primary and community health settings, to deliver new services and to support service integration through the following initiatives:

  • Funding for postgraduate study and vocational training courses that support skills development for a broader range of roles within primary care settings, i.e. roles not covered by the national fund for workforce development.
  • Funding for release time, supervision, and other costs such as travel to support health workers to access postgraduate study and vocational training.

Within regions, there will be engagement with primary and community providers to identify the training needs of eligible primary and community care health workers employed by PHOs, GP practices, Hauora Māori, and Pacific providers across the region.