DEMAND for healthcare workers in New Zealand continues to grow, and Filipinos are among the most preferred practitioners, said New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan.
In his recent visit to Cebu, Strachan said Auckland opens 11 nursing homes yearly to care for aging Kiwis. “We have an aging population and we need more people in the nursing sector,” he said.
Kiwis 65 and above form a large part of New Zealand’s population, creating a demand for healthcare professionals.
Today, most Filipinos in New Zealand work in the healthcare industry, said Strachan. Others, according to New Zealand Trade Commissioner Hernando Banal, are IT professionals. Filipinos constitute one percent of the 4.5 million population in New Zealand.
The ambassador, who recently expressed his interest to forge closer ties with Cebu, said Filipino nurses are the most preferred in their fields, citing their innate hospitality to patients.
With more Filipino students finishing their studies in New Zealand, the healthcare field, according to New Zealand Regional Communications Manager Ben Burrowes, is also one of the most availed courses. This translates to a younger workforce in New Zealand’s healthcare industry.
In 2015, Burrowes said more than 3,600 Filipinos studied in New Zealand, 83 percent more than in the previous year.
New Zealand’s Health Ministry, in a study, found out that its population structure has exhibited a change in the recent years, namely Kiwis’ declining fertility, the aging of the baby boomers and an increase in average life expectancy.
“Clearly, health service use increases with advancing age, as reflected in both the New Zealand data and the international literature. Taken overall, the projections suggest population aging will bring significant increases in the demand for both primary and hospital health services,” the study of Justin Cornwall and Judith Davey presented to New Zealand’s Health Ministry revealed.
One of the conclusions of the study showed that the Kiwi healthcare professionals are likewise aging and this is seen to affect the delivery of healthcare to its constituents.
“New Zealand is already experiencing difficulties in recruiting medical practitioners and training specialists in geriatric care, and if training programs do not develop the skills needed to care for older people, then the health workforce is likely to face increased strain in delivering care as our population ages,” it said.
Aside from healthcare, the ambassador also took note of the increasing demand for construction workers in New Zealand. He also wants Filipinos to join the Kiwi workforce.
Aside from job opportunities, the New Zealand ambassador also expressed interest to strengthen trade ties with the Philippines in the fields of education and tourism.