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Research paper assignment help: Health Workforce planning


Executive Summary


For success to be witnessed in a business, strength, commitment, diversification and motivation of its workforce should be availed. Having the right people to work is vital for the development of a business values. These people are needed for the recognition of their talents and as well for the motivation of other employees so as to ensure that the business achieves its set goals. In connection to this, SWSLHD – South Western Sydney Local Health District has a diverse health sector. This sector has roles and operations that are complex in a way. Therefore, an efficient and effective workforce is needed to enable the sector to accomplish its missions.

In addition to this, the workforce has the capabilities of leading to the growth of the health sector in the society at large. The SWSLHD together with its executive vision for the coming days involves investing in the community of South Western Sydney so as to establish a strong healthy society. To effectively realize this goal, the health workforce concerns ought to be addressed. The SWSLHD workforce strategic plan gives evidences on the concerns as well as the strategic moves that are needed to bring sustainability to the workforce; one that can deliver high quality care to the locals in the district.




In an expanded population that is expected to be higher than other Local Health District, the South Western Sydney Local Health District should ensure that the workforce for the future has capabilities of meeting the society’s needs. Workforce planning entails the identification of the components in the workforce needed in delivering health service objectives. It incorporates a wide range of human resource-related activities that are aimed at the short, medium, and long-term periods. (Larkin, 2012).An integrated workforce plan avails the best opportunities for the connection of human resource decisions. This is aimed at the goals that have been set by the SWSLHD health service sector.

Further, the workforce strategic plan looks beyond the number of employees who are required to attract, manage, and sustain the proper mixes for the right kind of people. This plan has the intention of presenting a picture of where the workforce for SWSLHD is at and where it will be in future. This is in connection with its service provision and what the health sector ought to do so as to cope up with and also meet the challenges that come in future. The challenges pertain to the health care requirements of the population. The plan also incorporates the recognition of health service workforce strategies, planning, policies, and development; these aspects ought to be informed in terms of time, accuracy, and relevance of data. (Friesen, 2014).If the workforce plan is built well; well-balanced, engaged, skillful, and effective workforce will be obtained. Nevertheless, the most important aspect will be to ensure that the right workforce is obtained in order to avail a solid, healthy and the best serviced South Western Sydney society.

External Environment Scan

An overview of South Western Sydney: its societies and workforce

Staffing component: For quality healthcare, it is imperative that healthcare institutions are staffed with suitable and qualified personnel. On identification of vacancies, the department manager organizes for recruitment and selection of employees. Once they are selected, the department conducts training and places the workers for the continuity of services.Controlling: The department usually schedules every activity that takes place in a healthcare institution. Therefore, the department ensures instances of duplication of work are minimised through control. (Thompson & Kent, 2016).

General management of the workers: HRM exercises all the functions of management upon the workers they are mandated to manage the organization. The department addresses all the complaints by the patients and the employees. Moreover, it handles and settles disputes that may arise between the workers or between workers and the management.

Job evaluation: this is a key function of HRM. Job evaluation entails analyzing a job and determining requirements and requisite compensation to the jobholder. More often than not, job evaluation is important especially when disputes arise between workers and employees. During tough economic periods, job evaluation is critical especially when it becomes apparent that laying off is not an option.


Improving efficiency: in many healthcare institutions around the world, HRM has facilitated the outsourcing of some services. The importance of the function is that it has enabled conversion of some fixed labor costs into variable costs. This measure has helped improve efficiency in the delivery of some services. All these measures have helped improve efficiency and hence furthering the healthcare field.

Managing legal concerns: one of the external environments that affect operations of the healthcare facilities is the legal environment. If this environment is poorly managed, it can lead to the closure of a health care field and numerous legal battles. Therefore, the HR manager constantly updates a healthcare facility on rules and regulations that have been laid down by authorities regarding legal operations.  Further, conforming to the law helps in settling disputes that may arise from the employees. Healthcare industry is a sensitive field, and any breach of the ethical code may be costly to the organization. (Wallace, 2013).Therefore, as HRM is responsible for the management of the human resource, so does managing their ethics fall under their mandate. The role of HRM is to ensure that employees work under the principle of the ethics and also respect and conform to the work and professional ethic.

South Western Sydney Local Health District is among the greatest and fastest expanding district in the metropolitan Sydney. Projections for the year 2021 reveal that the local population of 875,384 people will have risen by 21%. Over the timeline of this strategic workforce plan, the South Western Sydney locality will turn out to be the most populated Local Health District. It will be able to provide quality healthcare services to more than one million residents of the local area. The societies include rural as well as urban communities, cities, towns and villages, and make a representation of various cultures, distinct languages, and socio-economic status. (Friesen et al., 2014).This has the implication that the various communities that SWSLHD offers health services to are not the same. Furthermore, people living and working in South Western Sydney have wide ranges of health requirements that bring into board opportunities and issues for the workforce in SWSLHD.

The vision for this workforce plan is “Leading care, healthier communities.” The mission statement outlines how the vision will be achieved. In order to achieve all these, adhering to the set of core principles will be mandatory to provide healthcare and strategic focus on how to collaborate with teams and partners in availing healthcare services.

South Western Sydney Societies’ demographic profile

All over South Western Sydney and the Southern Highlands, a younger age profile than the NSW average is found. With reference to the market supply, the demographics give reflection on high birth rates as well as a population with regeneration in the age group of 20 to 35 years of age. It is also anticipated that as from what has been observed in the year 2011 up to 2021, there is expected that there will be a baby-boomer bulge in the 48 to 58 years of age. This will make a rise in 10.3% with comparison to 25.1% increase for NSW. Diversifications in cultural aspects are also evident whereby 36% of the total population born in abroad countries, 49% use different languages other than native English in homes. (Hayes et al., 2015).The data represented herein will outline the challenges that are to be faced during the presentation of this workforce strategic plan. The statistics also give details on increasing service provisions that need to be available at the ends of the age aspects. The statistics also show that the growing population might be a source of future employees only if the district takes it that the attractions in consideration are best suited to develop the strategic plans in the society targeted.

Internal Environment Scan

The principles of the strategic workforce plan

To achieve the best out of the workforce planning, all the levels of SWSLHD should embrace the following key principles. The plan should be determined to follow the critical skills that set out what should be achieved with the present as well as future workforce goals. All the parties involved in the implementation of the workforce plan should be committed so as to gain the best developments and communication. The strategic plans should be directed into attracting, retaining, and developing the critical sets of skills. (Sinclair, 2012).The plans should be strengthened in such a way that they should increase the manner in which the SWSLHD societies increase their participation in typical areas like Aboriginal employment.

Development of the workforce plan

The framework for SWSLHD has been tailored so as to meet general strategic requirements. The conceptual framework in focus involves wide consultations with the executive of SWSLHD as well as other stakeholders. The main intention of the plan is to integrate and support the healthcare services to deliver to the society up to 2021.

Considerations made on SWSLHD


The healthcare sector operates in a transforming environment where there are important pressures on time, costs, and resources. The district should also focus on some factors and impacts before undertaking to determine its investment levels in the future workforce. Since it is among the top organizations in NSW, SWSLHD should strive to maintain and enhance its reputation as well as its image. This will be of great importance to deliver quality, cost effective services, core skill provision, and the establishment of retention of quality. The plan should also be referred to as being dynamic. The executive of the workforce should ensure that there is sufficient commitment to the values of the organization.

Ethical practices should be highly visible so that the staff behavior and practices are morally upright. (Eapen et al., 2014).The relationship with other healthcare organizations is well developed in a way that there is proper networking, development of policies, and integration of plans in general. For the success of the plan, it must be taken as the responsibility of each member of the organization who takes part in assessments of policy implications, engagements, designing services, and making crucial business decisions.

Challenges of the workforce plan


It is anticipated that the workforce’s profile will change in the next decade. This is because the district under consideration has of late been encountering substantial losses of well experienced, and highly skilled senior staff members. In this connection, patterns related to work are also expected to be different. The ability of the plan to meet the society’s future demands is influenced by some internal and external factors. These factors are able to place great impacts on SWSLHD’s ability to supply the right workforce at the required time. (Carayon, 2016).The district’s executive are needed to establish a balance between the supply and demand forces that are appropriate to maintain a proper balance. The figure below shows how the right balance can be obtained.

Variables In Demand And Supply

Health requirements of the society

There are certain factors that will have great influences on the supply of the workforce.

Internal forces                                                      External forces


Cost Centre and Service Area Considerations


Nursing by Service Area and Cost Centre Headcount FTE
Allied Health
Diabetic Education 2 3.95
Women’s and Children’s inpatient services
Ante & Post Natal Unit 27 15.16
Delivery Suite 32 19.95
Special Care Nursery 17 10.52
Children’s Ward 13 5.23
Emergency and Urgent Care Services
Emergency Department Nursing 80 59.7
Critical Care Services
High Dependency Unit/Critical Care Unit 34 17.07
Medical and Palliative Care Services
Medical Ward 86 40.5
Medical Ward Cardio-Respiratory 60 27.68
Medical Ward General Medicine 92 43.01
Medical Ward Medical Assessment Unit 32 23.21
Geriatric and Rehabilitation Services
Geriatric Rehabilitation Unit 7 3.13
Transitional Aged Care 24 16.44
Medical & Surgical – Nursing
Medical & Surgical – Nursing 60 34.77
Anesthetics, Surgical and Operating Theatre Services
High Volume Short Stay Surgical Unit 1 0.63
Operating Theatres 70 60.24
Surgical/Orthopaedic – Nursing 55 34.78
Clinical Support Services
Imaging 1 1.01
Ambulatory Care Services
Non-Inpatient Services 20 8.02
Community Dialysis Centre 11 9.94
Management Services
General Manager 1 1
Nursing & Midwifery Directorate 17 13.82
Management/administration  support services
Education 2 2
Grand Total 744 451.76


General workforce trends


There is a continuous evolution of the work structure. This is because a new information as well as communication technology is utilized in delivering services and products. There is the challenge of the economy being globalized, issues in managing the multi-generational workforce that appears to include distinct drivers, and expectations called for in the workplace. The differences make it necessary for the creation of a workforce that has multi-skills, flexibility, and intellectual well-being. These result to incremental effectiveness in environments that are found online. The locally available emergent work environment results in giving out solid demands for a staff with a lot of expertise.

Current workforce profile for SWSLHD


The total workforce count per head was 11460 people. In number, there are 8576.34 contracted FTE- Full Time Equivalents. This implies that the SWSLHD workforce profile is among the biggest of healthcare organizations in NSW. Precisely, it is the greatest sized employer in South Western Sydney. Again, the workforce is anticipated to have the largest category of skilled clinical healthcare professional practitioners who are backed up by solid corporate services in addition to administrative functions.

In terms of employment status, permanent employees are often put into consideration to be the most stable elements of the workforce. The table below shows a comparative workforce between SWSLHD and NSW health. Both are presented as percentages.

Employment status SWSLHD NSW Health
Permanent 72.13% 83.92%
Casual work 27.87% 16.08%

Source: The NSW Health Stafflink

The above data implies that most of the workforce is entirely the young generation. Most of the staff members utilize flexibility all through their work operations. As a result of this flexibility in the workforce, attraction and retention of strategies in the plan are called for so that skill competency and development is maintained. This brings into board developing the relevant professional knowledge and skills.

The table below shows that more than 70% of the healthcare workforce in focus is in direct patient healthcare provision. Nursing takes the biggest category of occupation.

Award category Headcount SWSLHD (%)
Nursing category 5728 50.0
Administration 1701 14.8
Medical class 1436 12.5
Allied health 892 7.8
Technical and professional 878 7.7
Commercial 825 7.2
Total 11640 100.0



The data presented in the table below shows that there is a strong attachment to nurses who have professional qualifications. The information is an indication that there are strong numbers in the levels of entry into nursing categories. This gives room for better utilization of the nurses with great professional qualifications on more sophisticated patient healthcare roles. It also offers well-balanced nursing workforce. As shown below, the nursing workforce, SWSLHD;s nursing workforce has consistency with the other LHDs in the metropolitan.

Nursing award category Average FTE Nursing workforce (%)
Nursing assistant 230.61 5.40
Enrolled nurse 399.74 9.36
Nurse unit manager 161.09 3.77
Nurse consultant 143.81 3.37
Nurse educator 61.63 1.44
Nurse manager 90.30 2.11
Nurse practitioner 10.53 0.25
Nurse specialist 281.92 6.60
Registered nurse 2891.11 67.70
Total 4270.73 100.00


The workforce age and gender (mean paid FTE)


The graph below shows that most young people who are under twenty five years old comprise 8.95% of the total workforce. The greatest participation lies between the ages of 25 to 39 years old. To the end of the graph, it can be noticed that 52.43% of the total workforce is higher than 40 years. Taking into consideration a mean retirement age of 55 years and above, it is only 16.90% of the total workforce that is within the range. The total workforce participatory rate for both females and males starts to decrease rapidly after this range, with only 5.18% of the employees with the age of 65 years and above.

Tenure consideration

The condition of tenure is essential in the determination of the relative health status of the total renewable workforce. In case of low data on tenure, it is an indication that there is existence of poor culture, limitations on developments for opportunities and other related concerns in the workforce. With these factors in consideration, the attitudes of an employee towards work may be influenced when it comes to looking for opportunities internally or getting into contact with opportunities that are available externally. Tenure consideration makes it possible to see the distinction of various aspects that are influential to staff turnover rates. This is because turnover rates indicate only the raw number of staff members who leave an organization over a given period of time. It is worth to note that NSW Health’s median tenure is 8.24 years.

Source: NSW Health Stafflink

There are some analyses that can be depicted from the graph above. The greatest mean tenure for ladies is in the commercial sector. It is at 11.00 years. For the males, the greatest mean tenure is also in the commercial sector at 10.00 years. Medical field has the lowest mean tenure. Here, females mean tenure is 3 years while the males’ mean tenure is 4.20 years. This is because there is a greater incidence of temporary as well as employment on contracts in the medical workforce. It is also approximated that 35% of the total workforce has employment in casual agencies.

Demands for future workforce

It is undeniably true to say that there is a rise in the recruitment of healthcare professionals and practitioners. This is as a result of rapid population growth and also related rise in primary and acute healthcare requirements. This may lead to demands in healthcare to be higher than the available supply of workforce. It is determined that between the short and medium terms (five up to ten years), SWSLHD is unlikely to witness low entrance and early career physicians.

Workforce risks

The table below shows the identification of the workforce’s future risks and possible mitigation approaches. The information is obtained from the workforce that is available, projected population growth and related research on healthcare.

Rating of risk Action to be taken
Extreme risk Escalation to the position of chief executive in the healthcare sector. A detailed action plan to mitigate the risk rating can also be implemented.
High risk Escalation to executive management. A plan of action should be implemented.
Medium risk Specifying managerial accountability and responsibility. Trends need to be monitored and improvement plans taken into consideration.
Low risk Routine procedure management. Trends should also be monitored.

Recommended Key Strategies


In an effort to give back to the community, SWSLHD places particular interest in sourcing their workforce from the local community. Third, the human resource department develops a position description. The job description entails the details of a job and the requirements that interested candidates must meet. Therefore, SWSLHD elaborates on the job so that interested candidates can gauge themselves to determine whether they are qualified for the advertised by the organization. Fourth, the human resource department develops recruitment plan as the framework for hiring. The structure ensures uniformity and consistency so that the process is not flawed or biased. It is a critical process as it involves dealing with delicate human life. (Smither et al., 2016).Therefore, the recruitment process must not be flawed by all means.

Meeting future healthcare needs

A qualified healthcare workforce is required to work in collaboration with society partners to consider health prevention education. This may need the strengthening of systems that are in existence. (Griffiths et al., 2012).In order to establish this, the district will be required to make reviews in the manner in which it associates with basic healthcare practitioners.

Workforce redesign

Significance in the workforce redesigns and modern models for both private and public sectors are crucial for the future prospects, improvements, sustainability of healthcare. In order to successfully meet and mitigate the future challenges, the district needs to acquire capacity and capability in the workforce. The workforce should be fit enough to accommodate the sustainability of safe, quality and effective healthcare that fully incorporate the societal needs. To increase efficiency and effectiveness, technological trends should be utilized to the maximum. (Nancarrow et al., 2013).The practical scopes of healthcare should also be expanded.

Workforce planning

A conceptual framework on a workforce plan is essential. It ensures that workforce plans as well as other strategic priorities have full integration of facilities, services and departmental plans. These are vital in the engagement and connection of individual role contributions towards the attainment of the organization’s set goals and objectives. (MacPhee, 2014).In addition to reviewing opportunities for the development of managerial skill sets for local workforce plans, managing of risks is also vital.



The health workforce of any country complements economic well-being by providing health services. Effects of poor workforce planning and development cause ripple effects because health concerns of citizens cannot be addressed holistically. Therefore, health workforce planning and development policies should be developed from the lowest to the highest administrative levels. In federated countries like Australia and the United States, there exist health workforce planning and development policies at the district, state and national level. The policies provide a framework for planning and development in anticipation of future needs while at the same time addressing prevailing concerns. The primary concern is capacity building to ensure that health staffs are always prepared for any eventuality. A critical analysis of healthcare institutions can reveal the loopholes that may lead to ineffective workforce planning and development strategies.



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