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Workforce shortage New Zealand

Addressing the workforce shortage in New Zealand

In New Zealand, there is a dire shortage of sonographers with generalist and specialist skills, including cardiac sonographers. This shortage is nationwide, regardless of geographic location.

As in other countries, the most significant barrier to addressing this shortage is the poor availability of sonographer clinical training placements.

However, this is further exacerbated in New Zealand as Auckland University is the only university proving a course to train new general sonographers. Currently, there is no educational pathway in New Zealand to become a cardiac sonographer. 

The has been the case since the ASUM Diploma of Medical Ultrasound (DMU), which traditionally accounted for more than half of all New Zealand graduates, ceased in early 2019.

What the ASA is doing

To date, the ASA has met with the Ministry of Health including the new Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, regional alliance and Technical Advisory Service representatives, local universities and national educators, District Health Boards’ representatives, unions and the Medical Radiation Technologists Board (MRTB). These discussions have been around the workforce shortage as well as the lack of courses in New Zealand and on how we can solve these issues.

While these discussions continue, Auckland University is investigating its capacity in its ability to increase the number of students it can enrol in its course. The ASA is working closely with Auckland University to assist them in their endeavour to increase their capacity to support sonographer education and gather learnings from Australian universities.

The ASA will continue to work with all of these key stakeholders, particularly with the government to look at new innovative solutions to sustain the workforce into the future, in both a public and private health setting. 

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