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In assessing Te Whatu Ora's 2023/2024 Workforce Plan, it is encouraging to see the proactive attention towards the well-being and longevity of our healthcare workforce. One of the critical points I gathered from the report was the need to rethink our approaches to rostering. The implication is clear: the healthcare sector requires employment models and service delivery strategies that maximise the talents of its workforce without causing burnout. This is an area where technology can be instrumental, particularly in terms of AI-optimized rostering solutions.

Te Whatu Ora does a commendable job in outlining initiatives such as recommissioning staff support services and the implementation of well-being-focused programs. This is paramount to combat the escalating burnout rates among healthcare professionals to achieve the goal of “growing productivity - not by having people work harder (we know they already do), but by ensuring technology and models of care maximise their talents, without exacerbating burnout and attrition.” While the report does not explicitly mention rostering guidelines, there is a clear relationship between how and more importantly how often staff are asked to work. The report identifies that a key element is ensuring “Workloads are more manageable and sustainable, so our people are well and feel consistently physically, psychologically and culturally safe at work.” Rostering is a fundamental part of this equation, and clear guidelines need to be both in place and followed to minimise burnout and attrition. With an efficient, AI-based rostering system, we can alleviate the stress and uncertainty that often accompanies traditional scheduling, improving work-life balance, and overall job satisfaction.

By supporting our healthcare professionals in this way, we are not only aiding them but fostering a symbiotic relationship between staff, patients, and the wider community. After all, an optimally functioning healthcare system benefits everyone involved. Optimized rostering can contribute to higher levels of staff satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and ultimately, better patient care. And research shows that poor job satisfaction from untenable amounts of consecutive days leads to nursing staff not only leaving their jobs but healthcare as a whole.

Te Whatu Ora's recognition of these multifaceted challenges is a vital step towards improvement. The subsequent stages of implementing and supporting these changes call for strategic collaborations. Our mission at Rosterlab aligns with this goal, and we're committed to creating rostering solutions that help healthcare professionals thrive in their roles.

These are the personal thoughts of Rosterlab Cofounder Daniel Ge, on Te Whatu Ora's 2023/2024 Workforce Plan. The press release is here: the plan itself: Health Workforce Plan 2023/24 – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand