The paper discusses how the projected increase in Māori population impacts on Māori demand for health services over the next 10 to 20 years, and looks specifically at the demands on the Māori medical workforce.
- The current number of Māori doctors is less than the number that is needed to meet the increase in demand due to the projected increase in Māori population. Māori are currently under-represented in the medical workforce. In 2008, the number of Māori doctors had risen to 328 (or 3.1% of the workforce), from 240 in 2006 (2.5% of the workforce) and 234 in 2004 (2.6% of the workforce).
- The growth in Māori population is projected to be about twice as fast (30%) as that of non-Māori (16%). In absolute numbers, Māori population is projected to increase to 810,730 in 2026, from 624,280 in 2006. As a result, the Māori share of the total population is projected to increase from 15% in 2006 to 16% in 2026.
- Following are some of the changes in the Māori population in the next 10-20 years, which are expected to impact on future Māori demands for health services:
- The proportion of the Māori population aged 65 years and over is projected to have the biggest increase in the next 20 years, from 4% of the total population in 2006 to almost 9% by 2026. The increase in the proportion of elderly Māori is expected to result in an increase in Māori health service requirements. A 183% increase in the Māori population over 65 years of age is therefore predicted to result in a 220% increase in health care consultations for this group.
- Compared to 2006, the population of Māori over the age of 45 years is expected to increase by nearly 100,000, to 220,250 people.
- The proportion of the Māori population less than 25 years of age is projected to drop to 47% in 2026, from 53% in 2006.
- The median age of Māori is projected to increase to 25.3 years by 2026, from 22.9 years in 2006.
- Changes in the Māori population and Māori health service requirements will have an impact on Māori health workforce requirements. These changes will, in turn, put pressure on the clinical and cultural expertise of the health service workforce generally.
- Māori health outcomes, consumer awareness and expectations, and consumer demand for these services pose challenges for health services.
- Should 2004/06 rates remain unchanged, Māori health outcomes in the next 10-20 years are projected to worsen in proportion to projected population increases. For example:
- The number of Māori over 35 years of age who die as a result of CVD is estimated to increase by at least 50%, to 1276, by 2026.
- The number of cancer registrations for Māori over 25 years of age is estimated to almost double, to 3013, by 2026.
- Note that these estimates are not forecasts, and were calculated by applying current disease rates to 2006 population estimates and 2026 population projections; the assumption behind these estimates is that disease rates would remain constant until 2026.