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About the Healthcare and Medical Industry in New Zealand
New Zealand has public and private healthcare systems which both offer high standards of care. Within the public system, essential healthcare services are provided free for all New Zealanders and people in New Zealand on a work permit valid for two years or longer.
Alongside this system, private healthcare providers offer access to private medical institutions for the treatment of both urgent and non-urgent conditions (excluding Accident and Emergency Care). Private hospitals and clinics provide a variety of services including recuperative care, elective procedures and a range of general surgical procedures. Radiology clinics and testing laboratories are also available within the private healthcare system.
Demand for Healthcare and Medical Professionals
The primary element responsible for increasing demand in this industry is that many New Zealanders are now living well past retirement age. The population is growing and ageing, placing pressure on existing systems which were established for a smaller ageing population.
Also driving demand is an increase in the number of New Zealanders burdened with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression and musculo-skeletal conditions. These long-term conditions are particularly challenging when dealing with our ageing population: the number of New Zealanders with dementia, for instance, is forecast to rise from about 48,000 in 2011 to about 78,000 in 2026.
Climate change is also impacting the population’s health in a variety of ways and, alongside new developments in technology and new drugs, new infections and antibiotic resistances are continually emerging, all of which is contributing to steady growth in the medical research industry.
The nursing sector represents the largest number of positions advertised, representing up to one third of all healthcare industry vacancies.
In New Zealand, employers report difficulty filling vacancies for anaesthetists, physiotherapists, theatre nurses and those experienced in dealing with brain injuries.
Locations with the Highest Demand for Healthcare and Medical Professionals
Auckland in particular is experiencing a shortage in aged care workers, while Wellington has a consistently high demand for trained professionals in mental health such counsellors and psychologists. This trend in demand for mental health professionals is shared nationwide, with vacancies for such roles as counsellors, social workers and psychologists up by almost a third.
For Visa Applicants: Roles on the Skills Shortages List
If you are offered a job which appears on the list below, and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work visa will be easier. This is because the government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills.
Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist
Medical Radiation Therapist
Medical Laboratory Scientist – including Cytotechnologist (Cytoscientist)
Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Specialist Physician in Palliative Medicine