What would happen if three out of every five DHB mental health and addiction (MHA) employees around the country retired? This is the reality that DHB MHA services face over the next 15 years. Our new mental health and addiction employee profile report shows that 60 per cent of 7,572 current DHB MHA employees are aged 50 years or older, that is about 4,500 people nationwide. These older employees include over 2,000 nurses, 700 allied health workers, 500 medical professionals and nearly 800 care and support workers. 

The DHB mental health and addiction employees: 2016 profile report uses information supplied by the Health Workforce Information Programme to describe the demographic and service profile of DHB MHA employees as at 30 June 2016. 

  • The information covers employees from all 20 DHBs, who are in MHA roles as at 30 June 2016. 
  • This information represents most of the DHB workforce in child and adolescent, adult and older adult MHA services. 
  • A demographic profile (age, gender, and ethnicity) is presented along with average length of service and FTE turnover information for all employees. 
  • The report provides analysis for employees nationally, regionally and by DHB-size groups, in total and by occupation groups. 

The report’s key findings are that, compared to all DHB employees, DHB MHA employees:

  • are more likely to be aged over 50 years (60 per cent of DHB MHA employees, compared to 43 per cent of all DHB employees)
  • were more likely to identify as Māori or Pasifika than all DHB employees, and less likely to identify in an Asian ethnic group
  • had similar average length of employment to all DHB employees (8.6 years)
  • had lower FTE turnover for the quarter ended 30 June 2016 than all DHB employees (13 per cent, compared to 15 per cent). 

The implications of these findings are that there is an urgent need for workforce planning to respond to the ageing DHB MHA workforce over the next 15 years across all occupation groups. This is because mass retirements of MHA employees will begin sooner than for other DHB services, and have a greater impact.