The New Zealand Podiatry Profession – a Workforce in Crisis?
Carroll, M; Jepson, H; Molyneux, P; Brenton-Rule, A
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Background This is the first study to explore workforce data from the Podiatrists Board of New Zealand. The study analysed data from an online survey which New Zealand podiatrists complete as part of their application for an Annual Practising Certificate. Methods Survey responses between 2015 and 2019 were analysed. Data was related to work setting, employment status, work hours, location, professional affiliations, and number of graduates entering practice. Survey data was downloaded by a second party who provide data security for the Podiatrists Board of New Zealand workforce data. All data supplied for analysis were deidentified and could not be re-linked to an individual practitioner. Results In 2019 there were 430 podiatrists who held an Annual Practising Certificate. Eighty percent of podiatrists who work in New Zealand are in private practice, with 8% employed in the public health sector. Podiatrist’s work is a mix of general podiatry, diabetes care and sports medicine. The majority are self-employed (40%) or business owners (19%). Approximately 40% work between 31 to 40 h per week and 46 to 50 weeks per year. The majority are female (67%) with most practising in the North Island (69%) and located in the Auckland region (33%). On average 76% of new graduates were issued an Annual Practising Certificate between 2015 and 2019. Conclusion The New Zealand podiatry profession is small and growing at a slow rate, consequently there is evidence of a workforce shortage. To maintain a per-capita ratio of podiatrists approximate to Australia and the United Kingdom an additional 578 podiatrists are required in the New Zealand workforce. There are not enough new graduate practitioners entering the workforce and once practising, the majority enter private practice in the face of limited public health employment opportunities.