Health Services Manager
Kaiwhakahaere Ratonga Hauora
Health services managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of a hospital, primary health organisation (PHO), clinic or community health service.
Health services managers with up to five years’ experience usually earn
$65K-$125K per year
Health services managers with five or more years’ experience usually earn
$125K-$245K per year
Source: ACHSM, NZ DHBs and RDA, 2020.
Pay for health services managers varies depending on experience and qualifications.
- Graduate health services managers usually start on about $65,000 to $80,000 a year.
- Health services managers with four to five years' experience usually earn between $90,000 and $125,000.
- Experienced health services managers with a postgraduate qualification can earn up to $245,000.
- Senior health services executives can earn more than $400,000.
Sources: ACHSM - New Zealand Branch Council, careers.govt.nz interview, September 2020; New Zealand District Health Boards, ‘Senior Medical and Dental Officers Collective Agreement, 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021’, 2020; and Resident Doctors Association and 20 District Health Boards, ’Multi Employer Collective Agreement 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2021’, 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Health services managers may do some or all of the following:
- provide direction and management for their service
- ensure their service meets government health policy requirements and local health needs
- prepare, manage and review budgets
- recruit, manage and coach staff
- prepare reports for the board of directors
- develop and review strategic plans and policies
- liaise with other health providers, district health boards and funding bodies
- lead public education campaigns about current health issues
- advise government organisations about measures to improve public health
- consult iwi and other local groups to ensure patent services are culturally appropriate
- prepare funding applications to district health boards and the Ministry of Health for new services.
Skills and knowledge
Health services managers need to have:
- knowledge of health systems and services
- knowledge of the regulations and laws relevant to their organisation
- management and budgeting skills
- strong planning and organisational ability
- the ability to analyse statistical information and government reports.
Health services managers:
- work regular office hours, but may also need to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines
- usually work at hospitals, community health service centres, clinics and rest homes
- may travel to attend meetings and conferences, or visit other hospitals.
What's the job really like?
How did you become a health services manager?
“After 20 years of working full-time as a nurse, I moved to part-time and did a degree in architectural studies and art history. Architectural studies really improved my problem solving skills and art history was great for developing my critical writing skills.
“Once my degree was finished, I started applying for health management jobs and eventually got a job as a quality manager.
“Then I started a master’s degree in public health management and applied for my current role at the Wellington Blood and Cancer Centre, Renal, Pharmacy, and Palliative Care.”
What’s the best part about your job?
“I’ll see the patients discharged from the ward, the volume of dialysis treatment offered, the volume drugs we’ve dispensed for specialist cancer treatments, and feel really satisfied that we’re providing a good service."
What advice would you give to future health services managers?
“Avoid being too wedded to a niche part of the healthcare sector. The skill in these jobs is keeping very generic skillsets and being able to acquire knowledge about how different parts of the sector work. We need knowledge of how we get patients in and out of the hospital, not necessarily in clinical specialty.”
To become a health services manager you usually need to have a postgraduate qualification in health management, such as a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management or Master of Business Administration.
Professional qualifications in other relevant areas such as accounting, human resources, education, or information technology may also be useful.
Health services managers need to have experience in management or health services, in addition to their professional qualification.
Qualification route for doctors specialising in medical administration
Doctors who wish to specialise in medical administration need to complete:
- a medical degree
- a minimum of three years of clinical experience
- an application, specialist training and an examination to become a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include accounting, economics, health education and mathematics.
Health services managers need to be:
- good decision-makers and problem-solvers
- good communicators
- able to work well under pressure
- adaptable and open to new ideas
- able to provide leadership.
Useful experience for health services managers includes:
- related health work such as nursing
Find out more about training
- ACHSM - New Zealand Branch Council
- (09) 5775477 - NZIHM@achsm.org.au - www.achsm.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Strong demand for health services managers
The number of health services managers has increased over the last decade, as New Zealand's growing and ageing population creates demand for community and hospital health services.
According to the Census, 2,388 health services managers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Entry-level health management jobs for experienced, qualified clinicians
There are often entry-level health management jobs available in the health sector, such as clinical, quality or project manager roles. These jobs usually require clinical experience and a relevant professional qualification, for example in business, accounting, human resources, education or information technology.
These roles can provide a pathway into more senior health services manager roles, such as department manager or chief executive.
Most health services managers work in the public sector
Most health services managers work for public sector employers such as:
- district health boards
- public hospitals
- primary health care
- health-related agencies such as Medsafe, which regulates therapeutic products in New Zealand
- government departments or ministries.
Some health services managers work for private employers such as:
- private hospitals
- aged care
- community-based services such as community nursing, disability support organisations or kaupapa Māori community organisations.
- Medical Council of New Zealand, 'Medical Administration', accessed January 2021, (www.mcnz.org.nz).
- New Zealand District Health Boards, ‘Senior Medical and Dental Officers Collective Agreement, 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021’, accessed September 2020, (www.bopdhb.govt.nz).
- Orsborn, K, president, New Zealand Institute of Health Management, Careers New Zealand interview, September 2020.
- Resident Doctors Association and 20 District Health Boards, ’Multi Employer Collective Agreement 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2021’, accessed September 2020, (www.nzrda.org.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Health services managers may progress to become senior managers or chief executives.
Health services managers may specialise in:
- Māori health care
- mental health
- health care for people with disabilities
- design, development and management of health information technology systems
- primary care such as general practice management
- managing non-governmental health organisations
- human resources.
Last updated 21 November 2023