Northland District Health Board admits its mandatory staff development course attendance rates need improving.
The NDHB offers six "mandatory" courses which provide ongoing professional development to its staff - Basic Life Support, Fire Safety Training, Disability Responsiveness, Privacy, Engaging with Māori, Honouring the Treaty and Organisation Orientation.
Staff had to attend the Basic Life Support course annually, the Fire Safety Training course biennially, the Honouring the Treaty course every five years and the remaining four courses only once during their employment.
In data presented to the DHB's Equity in Hospitals committee last week, it showed only 25.6 per cent of the DHB's 3438 staff members had attended the Disability Responsiveness course and 46.6 per cent had attended the Honouring the Treaty course.
Just over 58 per cent of staff had attended the Privacy course, while 61.8 per cent had attended the Engaging with Māori course. The three remaining courses had attendance rates of 70 per cent or more, with the highest at 76 per cent (Fire Safety Training).
NDHB planning, integration, people and performance general manager John Wansbone said a rate of 80 per cent was considered good seeing as the data was a snapshot of the whole organisation.
While he said staff being on leave impacted attendance capability, Wansbone accepted that more work was needed to boost course completion across the DHB.
"Northland DHB is keen to improve the attendance rate of mandatory courses and a working group has been established to assess all current courses," he said.
Wansbone said the Disability Responsiveness course, which was designed to promote and protect the human rights of those with impairments or disabilities, was currently targeted at new staff and had high attendance rates for that group.
The Disability Responsiveness course started in March last year after it replaced a Disability Awareness course which first ran in 2012. Only 52 per cent of current staff had attended the former course.
Wansbone admitted the attendance rate need improving for the Honouring the Treaty course, which supported the elimination of health inequities between Māori and non-Māori.
"We acknowledge the attendance rate at the Honouring the Treaty course is low.
"Again, the target audience has been new staff rather than whole of organisation. The attendance rate is expected to increase over the next 24 months as [the cultural quality programme] Te Kaupapa Whakaruruhau is launched."
The data also outlined the attendance rates of the different workforce groups. Of the five groups - Allied Health, Manage/Admin, Medical, Nursing and Support - Medical (resident and senior medical officers) recorded the lowest attendance rates across almost all courses with an average attendance rate of 37 per cent.
Wansbone said there were many members of the medical staff group who had the sufficient qualifications which made their attendance at these courses unnecessary.
The workforce group with the highest average attendance rate across the courses of 77 per cent was Allied Health, which represented a wide range of professions such as therapists, social works, technical and scientific.
Despite the need for improvement, Wansbone was confident the low attendance rates wouldn't affect the level of healthcare the DHB provided.
"The delivery of healthcare is not adversely affected by the attendance rate of mandatory courses. All clinical staff hold a suitable qualification to deliver healthcare to Northlanders."