This week, the Government announced major changes to New Zealand’s health system. The new health system aims to improve the quality and consistency of care for all New Zealanders, doing away with what has been known as ‘postcode’ health and giving people better health care no matter where they live.
What are the key changes?
- The Ministry of Health will steward the new health system and act as lead advisors to the Government on health strategy and policy.
- A new organisation, Health NZ, will take over the planning and commissioning/funding of services and the functions of all existing DHBs and Public Health Organisations (PHOs). Four regional divisions will also be established.
- A Māori Health Authority will be setup to help deliver improved outcomes for Māori. As well as setting policies for Māori health, it will have the power to directly commission/fund health services for Māori.
- A new Public Health Agency will be established within the Ministry of Health to provide a strengthened public health service and to help improve New Zealand’s ability to respond to public health threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
What do these changes mean?
While significant changes like this can be unsettling, we believe the new health system is good news for all New Zealanders. Many people have told us that the current system isn’t working and it’s time for a change.
Services will continue to run as normal as the system is rolled out. Changes will be introduced gradually to ensure that care continues to be delivered effectively. It is expected that the necessary legislation to support these changes will be passed around mid-2022.
To stay up-to-date with further announcements and developments, check your local news outlets or see government websites including: www.dpmc.govt.nz