Pulse Survey: Māori Provider Wellbeing COVID-19

Over the past two years, it has become increasingly clear how vital our Māori Organisations are to the communities they serve. They have been unwavering in their commitment, ingenuity, and innovation – often going above and beyond to ensure the health and wellbeing of whānau.

As a national workforce centre, we work closely with Māori Organisations, and we understand their workforce needs. From recent discussions, we observed a growing concern about the health and wellbeing of these workforces due to stress and burnout now being experienced in the Omnicron response.

In February 2022, we completed a pulse survey with 90 Māori Organisations to gain a better understanding of their concerns.

The key risks identified through the survey were:

  • Over 90% highlighted concerns of stress and burnout as a risk to their workforces
  • Over 80% highlighted concerns that there would be a disruption to essential services to communities due to staffing shortages
  • Over 80% highlighted recruitment challenges to sustain temporary workforces and to backfill positions when staff became unwell
  • Most Organisations had concerns around the inability to meet the growing health or social service demands from communities (implications from COVID 19 impacts)
  • Most Organisations also shared concerns for the risk and wellbeing for the households and whānau of frontline workforces

The factors that were contributing to these risks included:

  • Workforce fatigue from sustained responses to the pandemic
  • Increased levels of concerns about workforces testing positive for COVID-19
  • The ability to recruit and retain additional temporary or voluntary staff through the current outbreak
  • Growing demand for health and social services as households self-isolate

We have seen Māori workforces face specific challenges in relation to burnout and being affected by the pandemic. For some regions, this impact has been felt more so due to staff shortages existing before the pandemic.

None of us want to see (any) workforce burnout across the health and social care system to reach an emergency level and pose a serious risk to the functioning of services. Whilst we continue to learn from our experiences during COVID-19. The health and social care sector have been challenged on a scale and pace not previously seen before and these pressures have encouraged the very best in organisations. However, the pandemic has highlighted disparities in the system.

We will continue to listen and engage with workforces, leaders, organisations, and our partners to best support those who work in the health & social care system. Moving forward we will continue to run Pulse Surveys and keep a focus on systems and systemic solutions.