Allied health social workers

The Social Workers Registration Board (the SWRB) is considering with interest a report on the role of allied health professionals in the health sector.

The NZIER ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ report says the review of the country’s health and disability system provides an opportunity to make better use of allied health professionals, with an emphasis on designing and shifting services to community-based teams.

There are more than 10,000 social workers registered by the SWRB, many of whom work in the community and for District Health Boards.

SWRB chair Shannon Pakura says the NZIER report’s recommendations, if adopted, could have a significant impact on social workers in the health sector.

“With almost 1,700 social workers employed by DHBs, representing a significant part of the 15,000-strong allied health workforce, the SWRB is looking forward to engaging in any future discussions about this sector.

“Social workers work with the most vulnerable in our community and they are a vital workforce whose input should be included in any planning.”

The SWRB was recently appointed the lead agency to develop workforce planning for social work and Ms Pakura says the SWRB would expect to contribute to any wider discussions around allied health planning.

The NZIER report states that the allied health workforce represents the health and disability system’s greatest opportunity for transformational change. 

SWRB’s Chief Executive, Sarah Clark, says they are keen to be involved.

“As an integral part of the allied health professional workforce, social workers already work as part of multi-disciplinary teams and their views need to be sought when it comes to progressing any planning for this workforce.”

New Zealand recently implemented mandatory registration of social workers in February this year.