The New National Health and Hospitals Network – Building Australia’s Health Workforce: Where is the Evidence?


  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Matthew J. Leach, Research Fellow, Health Economics and Social Policy Group, School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email:


The National Health and Hospitals Network (NHHN) policy, released on 20 April 2010, describes a core part of the Commonwealth Government’s strategy for health reform. Additional funds are identified to support quality improvement and accessibility to hospital, primary and aged care, with just over 16 per cent of funding dedicated to building Australia’s health workforce. Whilst considerable investment in Australia’s health workforce is desirable, we argue that the explicit and implicit objectives of the workforce strategy and the specific components described in the NHHN document do not have an evidence base. This article highlights some of the flawed assumptions that seem to have informed the workforce policy. It also presents an alternate evidence-based approach to help improve the integrity and success of the NHHN workforce policy, and thus, the quality of workforce planning in Australia and the health of Australians.