Our People | Northland DHB

Our People

He whakapapa, he mokopuna, he tamariki, he mātua, he tūpuna. He aha te mea nui. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.

Our people are central to all we do. Our people are what drive our organisational culture. The five organisational Values are what we pride ourselves on. They are the foundation of our culture that we continue to build on.

 Profile Type Statistics
 Northland DHB Workforce Total workforce: 3,086 active employees
 Age Female average age: 46.23 years
Male average age: 45.90 years
 Ethnic Māori: 17.04 percent
Pacific: 1.04 percent
European: 60.73 percent
Asian: 10.53 percent
Other: 3.79 percent
Not stated: 6.87 percent
 Disability Specific data is not currently held for this category. Individuals with disabilities applying for vacancies are given full consideration based on the needs of the position.
 Gender Female: 2,462 employees (79.78 percent)
Male: 624 employees (20.22 percent) 
Leadership, Accountability and Culture

Northland DHB is committed to meeting its statutory, legal and ethical obligations to be a good employer. We strive to provide an organisational culture that has strong leadership and accountability – where everyone is able to contribute to the way the organisation develops, improves and adapts to change.
We engage our employees through positive relationships to foster leadership skills at all levels. A key priority for the DHB is achieving equity for Māori through Te Tiriti principles, which have led to several programmes and initiatives being enhanced or established to support current and future leaders to achieve this priority.
The organisational Values help to maintain our relationship-based culture, which encourages collaboration across services and occupational groups to contribute to employee engagement and patient outcomes and positive relationships with union partners. Local engagement groups continue to meet regularly and remain integral to maintaining a cooperative working environment. The objectives of the groups are to provide a forum for ongoing constructive engagement between Northland DHB and the unions that represent its employees.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:

  • A Leadership Programme based on the State Services Commission programme has been established. This introduces a pulse learning approach to ongoing leadership competency development, which include three new courses:

- Leading through Influence

- People Leadership

- Strategic Leadership.

  • The establishment of a ten-year Northland Workforce Development Strategy 2019–29, provides a snapshot of the current challenges and needs. It has the following four key headline objectives:

- Attract, recruit and develop a talented workforce

- Grow the capacity and capability of our Māori workforce

- Reshape the workforce to deliver innovative and integrated models of care in response to changing population needs

- Foster a safe, well, engaged, enabled workforce supported by effective leadership.

Recruitment, Selection and Induction

Māori are under-represented in Northland DHB’s workforce, comprising just 17.04 percent of the total staff. Northland DHB is committed to encouraging more Māori into health and disability fields. This applies particularly to areas where Māori are under-represented as health professionals and over-represented in their health needs. The DHB approved the appointment of a full-time Workforce Equity Manager who started in the third quarter of 2019.
Our objective to ‘grow our own’ workforce has led to a number of development projects which have been implemented with great success. Northland DHB holds the regional hub contract for Kia Ora Hauora. This was established to increase the number of Māori entering first-year tertiary study, and to recruit and retain Māori in health-related career pathways and into the health sector workforce.

We are committed to future proofing our service delivery by attracting, recruiting and developing high potential talent. The recruitment team are engaged with NeonLogic, our agency partners, in developing the recruitment Employer Value Proposition to help us attract and retain high quality employees.
Robust safety screening processes and our Values-based recruitment processes are used to select all staff. Staff are welcomed and inducted to Northland DHB through the Organisation Orientation event, and through department/team inductions. Our recruitment processes comply with child protection safety checking regulations and all interview questions include specific Vulnerable Children’s Act questions.

Partnerships with education providers to promote health careers and strengthen student capability are key in nurturing a high quality entry pipeline. Strong relationships with the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and NorthTec continue to provide future opportunities for doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to join the organisation.

In 2018/19, key roles were created, one of which was the Chief Operating Officer role. The appointment into this role will make a significant contribution to the provision of safer (for staff and patients), more timely, equitable, efficient and effective patient and whānau centred care.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:   

  • Appointment of the Integrated Operations Centre Manager to:

- direct workforce and capacity across the organisation

- enable key teams to be responsive to use real-time data analysis for clinical and operational decision making across the organisation

- develop a central hub where the day’s activity and responses are coordinated for better patient outcomes and safe staffing levels.

  • Appointment of the Clinical Director, Acute Demand to:

- Strengthen the primary care clinical interface.

  • Promotion of health careers to all secondary schools:

- Kia Ora Hauora (northern) recruited 596 Māori to their programme in the last 12 months

- Support provided to the University of Auckland Rural Grassroots programme in schools.

  • Support Science achievement:

- 2019 Rangatahi Health symposium (53 students attended)

- Science for Hauora at Massey University (52 students attended)

- STAH Forum (Allied Health Careers Promotion) 34 students attended

- Free science and maths tutorials provided through ‘See the Solutions’ (29 year 12/13 students registered for this support)

- Health Science Academy – 30 Year 12 attendees.

  • Supporting tertiary achievement:

- Kia Ora Hauora (northern) has supported 143 secondary students into tertiary education

- Provided 22 Pihirau scholarships towards fees to tertiary students across the region

- Nine tertiary support packages to students in hardship (consists of any of the following: laptop & software, one-off accommodation grant, travel assistance)      

- Four Tertiary Support Grants to Māori student bodies at various tertiary institutions to support retention

- Scholarship workshops – 108 tertiary students attended

- Supported 32 medical students with Waitangi Day promotion and cultural wānanga.

  • Transition to work:

- Kia Ora Hauora (northern) has supported 219 of its members into employment. 35 members transitioned to employment between July 2018 and June 2019. Work ready programmes are delivered regionally.

- 533 new employees have been welcomed through the Northland DHB Organisation Orientation.

Employee Development, Promotion and Exit

Northland DHB is committed to growing the cultural competency of our workforce in a response to achieving health equity outcomes for our Māori communities. Evidence shows patient outcomes improve when they are treated with a higher level of cultural competency, and cared for by a skilled workforce that reflects the community we serve. Te Kaupapa Whakaruruhau / The Māori Health Cultural Quality Programme provides opportunities to gain cultural competencies. Northland DHB has also committed to implementing an equity lens over the organisational onsite training.

Northland DHB has a comprehensive onsite and online training programme which staff are encouraged to take advantage of. External training courses, conferences and workshops are also available to build capability and support career and personal development objectives.

We provide medical staff with continuing medical education (CME) support and nursing and midwifery staff with professional development recognition programmes. Health Workforce NZ funding continues to be provided for postgraduate study for nursing and midwifery and the non-regulated workforce.

Northland DHB generally has a turnover of 11.3 percent, which is comparable to the national average of 11.2 percent. An online confidential Staff Exit Survey is offered to all department staff, along with the opportunity for ‘face to face’ exit interviews.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:

  • The nursing graduate programmes (NETP & MESP) are committed to supporting employment of new graduate nurses, to support the growth of the nursing workforce for Northland and to increase the Māori nursing workforce to reflect the Northland population. The programmes support new graduates in their first year of practice to develop their clinical skills, knowledge and integration into the nursing workforce.

- Northland DHB employed approximately 94 percent of applicants throughout Northland, mostly in the secondary settings but also in Primary and Aged Residential Care (ARC) areas   


- The Nursing Directorate is collaboratively working with the NorthTec nursing school, and Kia Ora Hauora to use the ‘pipeline’ development of new students transitioning to nursing as well as returning nurses.


  • Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō – the national Māori nursing and midwifery workforce programme is now in its 16th year. This programme is sponsored by the Northland DHB Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery and in partnership with the National Māori Hauora Coalition.
  • In February 2019, health care assistants were enrolled in the NZQA Certificate in Health & Wellbeing (Level 3) for Health Care Assistants in hospital settings programme. Fourteen successfully completed the programme in June 2019. This represents a 100 percent pass rate with 50 percent of the participants identifying as Māori.
  • The Health Workforce Directorate Post Graduate Nursing contract has been fully allocated for July 2018 to June 2019. The funding has been evenly spread between the primary and secondary health sectors. Māori support funding was received. Māori nurses reported that it was a valuable personalised support. Achievements for Northland nurses studying at post graduate level were:

- Bachelor of Nursing Hons student completing research on model or care for acute inpatient services

- A 100 percent pass rate

- Several nurses studying Māori leadership, prescribing pathways and long-term conditions.

  • Tū Tira, Northland DHB Kaupapa Māori Health Symposium: The Tū Tira Kaimahi Māori Working Group was established with the aim to deliver an annual Kaupapa Māori Health Symposium. The goal is to elevate kaupapa Māori literacy within Northland DHB’s workforce and encourage innovative knowledge and practices. This is guided by the organisation’s workforce strategy in addressing inequities. The Kaupapa Māori Health Symposium was held at the Whangarei Events Centre on 29 March 2019 and was attended by 105 staff.

  • Northland DHB’s cultural “Engaging Effectively with Māori” quality programme continues to be a significant course for all staff with 69 percent overall attendance at 30 June 2019. The organisation has established its own group of six facilitators who deliver in pairs every month. This ensures the continuity of the programme and develops the capability of our own staff.

  • The Learning and Development department recorded attendance of 13,268 people. This includes 2,164 through the internal courses from the Learning and Development Programme, 3,268 through internal business partnerships and 7,843 online completions through the LEARN platform.

  • The Wellbeing initiative was well supported with 333 people attending courses that covered topics such as nutritional information, breathing techniques, Myers Briggs personality profiles, tools for managing stress, building resilience and a boot-camp pilot.

  • Two new Learning Pathways have been established, Enabling Wellbeing and Driving Excellence.

  • A new scholarship fund with an external philanthropist was established to support and encourage tertiary health studies for internal staff working in the unregulated workforce. Four scholarships were provided in 2018/19 for studies in nursing, mental health and human resources.

  • The average length of service at Northland DHB is eight years.

Flexibility and Work Design

Northland DHB operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing full-time and part-time opportunities. Flexible work hours based on employee needs and the requirements of the position are available. Specific disabilities are recognised and provided for.
Northland DHB has fostered an environment where our key partners can evolve the development of primary care health system across Northland that eliminate health inequities for Māori, promote wellbeing and self-determination, provide value to the system and measure success through achieving population outcomes across a health and social care spectrum.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:

  • Northland DHB completed its implementation of a single contracting entity for primary care, a policy adopted by the Board in November 2016. This transformational project over two years of planning at a governance level involved the two PHOs, Te Kahu o Taonui (our iwi Chairs), and Māori Health Providers. This culminated in the appointment of Independent Chair, Eru Lyndon in late 2018. Chief Executive Phillip Balmer was appointed in January to lead the new Primary Health Entity Te Kaupapa Mahitahi Hauora – Papa O Te Raki Trust. Mahitahi Hauora has been formed from representatives of the previous PHO boards as well as community and iwi representatives and the DHB Chief Executive as a non-voting member.

  • The Calderdale Framework is a clinically-led workforce development tool to facilitate a ‘best for patient, best for system’ approach. It provides opportunities to standardise patient care and achieve service efficiencies.

  • A cohort of ten Calderdale Framework Facilitators trained across Allied Health and District Nursing services. Each facilitator is implementing a workforce re-design project within their service. The goal of the project is to embed District Nursing and Allied Health workforce capacity and capability strategies into the Northland practice workflow.

  • After its introduction mid-2018, it was quickly realised that Zoom video conferencing could be of substantially wider benefit to Northland DHB than just corporate use. Zoom has been deployed in business and clinical areas to meet demand, with 500 active users across the organisation.

- Dental therapy clinics were successfully piloted to the mid and far north with a service-wide deployment plan for Oral Health developed and currently seeking funding

- Primary Care led multi-disciplinary team meetings have been further developed from the Te Hono model, and deployed in the mid north with regular meetings now occurring

- A Telestroke service has been introduced to the acute care telehealth network for Whangarei Hospital and the links from ICU to the rural hospitals have been upgraded with mobile telehealth carts using Zoom. This service is now called Rapid Information Telehealth Assessment (RITA). A model for patient consultations to the home is being developed for transplant patients with the renal team. A primary goal is to make this model scalable with many other clinical areas potentially able to benefit.

  • Growth of the Primary Options Acute Demand Management Service (POADMS).

  • Enabling primary/secondary care collaboration through the development of a working group programme, Innovation Support.

Remuneration, Recognition and Conditions

Northland DHB adheres to the good employer requirements in section 118 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 which covers:

  • Good and safe working conditions
  • An equal employment opportunities programme
  • The impartial selection of suitably qualified persons for appointment
  • Recognition within the workplace of the aspirations and needs of Māori, other ethnic or minority groups, women and people with disabilities.

Northland DHB’s workforce is covered by 21 collective employment agreements. A smaller proportion of staff are on individual employment agreements. Transparent job evaluation criteria, developed in consultation with relevant unions, are in place for a range of employee groups. This includes specific merit programme criteria which are available for most employee groups.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:   

  • On 14 November 2018, the Northland Health and Social Sector Innovation Awards celebrated quality, innovation and integration across Te Tai Tokerau health and social sectors.

- Northland District Health Board, NorthAble Disability Services, Manaia Health and Te Tai Tokerau PHOs proudly came together to showcase the achievements from across our region over the past two years. Our award categories reflect services from iwi organisations, social services, general practice, and non-government and government agencies. We celebrated the way we work which is unique to Northland

- The event was a ‘Theatre Experience’ hosted by entertainer Luke Bird and held at the Capitaine Bougainville Theatre at Forum North in Whangarei. The Cedric Kelly Supreme Award was presented to Te Ara Oranga Methamphetamine Demand Reduction Programme

- The event would not have been possible without the kind support from the following sponsors: Northland Community Foundation, Spotless, IC Motor Group Hyundai, Webb Ross McNab Kilpatrick, Mediaworks Radio, Te Tai Tokerau PHO, Calders Design and Print, Hotprintz, Manaia Health PHO, NZME, Cnorth, NorthAble EQ+, Air New Zealand, On Design, Office Max, Whitehead HD, Health Quality & Safety Commission, Refining NZ and Jeff Oliver Print.•

  • International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife was recognised and celebrated with the annual nursing and midwifery awards held 9 May 2019.

Harassment and Bullying Prevention

Northland DHB’s zero tolerance to bullying and harassment is reinforced by policy, training and support, which are provided to all staff with clear guidelines outlined in the Managing Unacceptable Behaviour in the Workplace Policy. All current and new managers are required to attend training which supports their ability to recognise, investigate and ameliorate such concerns when they occur.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:

  • The ‘DATIX’ electronic reporting tool for reporting incidents of alleged violence, bullying and harassment continues in use, and we have started engagement with our union partners to refine the tool to ensure improved ease of use

  • The ‘Managing Unacceptable Behaviour’ HR training module for managers has been updated to include various new role-play scenario’s to enhance the training experience.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Northland DHB is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all employees, patients, whānau, visitors and other workers. The organisation is required by legislation and contractual obligations to have effective emergency and corporate risk management systems and processes in place.
In December 2018, a Wellbeing programme and Wellbeing Steering Group was established to ensure the wellbeing of staff continues to be a priority and the numerous initiatives that fall under the wellbeing banner are well managed.

Achievements in 2018/2019 include:

  • 77 percent of staff from across all our hospitals and worksites vaccinated against 2019 seasonal Influenza. This uptake was key in managing Influenza disease and in controlling its spread to patients and within our community

  • The 2018/19 Health and Safety objectives for the Executive Leadership Team and Board have been achieved.

  • Reducing the number of Lost Time Injuries continues to be a focus for the organisation. The number of lost time injuries for 2018/19 was 38. The frequency rate (7.4) remains significantly below the national (11.4), northern region (12.7) and medium sized (12.4) DHB average benchmarks. The organisation has identified the following six risks to personal health based on work exposure:

- Violence from patients or visitors, acute or gradual health impact

- Moving and Handling, including patients

- Chemical (personal exposure to toxic, flammable or explosives)

- Biological (disease transmission)

- Environmental, e.g. asbestos (exposure when working in asbestos containing buildings)

- Personal Stress (personal resilience and wellbeing).

  • Successfully retained tertiary (the highest) level accreditation in ACC’s Partnership Programme audit.
  • Maintaining an injury prevention focus on moving and handling people, manual handling and chemical management.
  • Wellbeing programme established, which aims to:

- Equip leaders and teams with the ability to identify and respond appropriately to disengaged and/or unwell staff

- Increase accountability for staff wellbeing across all leader roles

- Develop support pathways

- Create further opportunities for participation in physical fitness and resilience programmes

- Build awareness of existing wellbeing initiatives, courses and team events

- Develop a recognition framework.

  • A Workplace Violence Prevention Group was established in 2017 whereby awareness campaigns and online training demonstrated Northland DHB’s commitment to eliminate workplace violence. Subsequently the role of a Workplace Violence Prevention Programme Manager was established to provide oversight, guidance and interventions to further support staff safety.

- Wide consultation with staff took place between January and June 2019 to determine the scope of impact on the safety, health and wellbeing for employees

- A Workplace Violence Prevention Framework has been proposed.


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