New Zealand plastic and reconstructive surgery workforce: update and future projections

Main Article Content

Amanda Peacock https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8566-8533
Brandon Adams https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1089-658X
Swee Tan

Keywords

forecasting, reconstructive surgical procedures, surgeons, workforce, training support

Abstract

Objectives: Population growth in New Zealand (NZ) has occurred faster than previously forecast. As a result, previous workforce predictions are outdated and must be adjusted to ensure adequate access to plastic and reconstructive surgery (PRS) services. This paper presents an update of the PRS workforce and its projected needs, and the distribution of reconstructive surgeons (PRSn) in NZ.


Methods: The number of practising PRSn and trainees, and the total medical workforce were reviewed, along with population statistics modelling with a focus on the ageing population. Comparisons were made to previous data and forecasts from 2013.


Results: Previous population modelling predicted that NZ would reach five million by 2027. However, updated population data show that this figure was surpassed in 2020 and that the population will be approximately 5,374,655 in 2028. The PRS workforce has continued to grow in relation to overall population growth. The PRSn to population ratio (PRSPR) has improved since 2013 with a current ratio of approximately 1/69,000. However, a vast workforce maldistribution remains.


Conclusion: The overall PRSPR in NZ appears satisfactory for the ageing population. However, the vast workforce maldistribution remains unchanged and this presents a barrier to equitable access to public PRS services, especially in provincial NZ.

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