The Voluntary Bonding Scheme

The Voluntary Bonding Scheme was set up to encourage medical, nursing and midwifery graduates to work in "hard-to-staff" communities and/or specialties. By the end of 2011, Health Workforce New Zealand had confirmed a total of 1,790 registrations of interest in the Scheme from 220 graduate doctors, 1,394 graduate nurses and 176 graduate midwives. The Scheme was also extended in 2012 to include medical physicists and radiation therapists.

Graduates who register on the Scheme, and comply with its terms and conditions, are entitled to apply for their first payment at the end of three years. The first applications for payment from the 2009 intake were submitted to Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) this year.

Voluntary Bonding Scheme Review

The review of the Voluntary Bonding Scheme is intended to consider the operation of the Scheme during the past three years and its influence on participants' career decisions to date. It will investigate the impact of the Scheme on retention and recruitment rates in the communities and specialties that were identified as hard-to-staff between 2009 and 2012.

The review will examine the success of the Scheme in terms of uptake by each profession, and whether the current rules and requirements need to be adjusted to meet the overall workforce recruitment and retention objectives that the Scheme is intended to achieve. The review will consider and make recommendations on how to determine hard-to-staff areas/communities and specialties in future.

The review is intended to be an operational review of the Scheme as it stands at present. It will not consider the inclusion of other professions in the Voluntary Bonding Scheme.

Doctors, nurses and midwives who have taken part in the Scheme will be surveyed in August 2012 about their experiences of the Scheme over the past three years. Stakeholders will be contacted and asked to provide feedback on the operation of the Scheme from a stakeholder perspective.

More information about the Scheme can be found at:

Last updated: August 29, 2018