Health Minister has announced a major overhaul of the healthcare system in Aotearoa New Zealand, following the Health and Disability Review. The changes will prioritise primary care and accessibility by removing all District Health Boards and replacing them with a national crown entity (Health New Zealand), creating a Māori Health Authority and a new Public Health Agency.
“The reforms herald a change in focus for the health system – we will treat people before they get sick so they don’t need to go to hospital, thereby taking the pressure off hospitals,” Andrew Little said.
“We all know how stretched our hospitals and specialist services are, and that’s largely because people are not getting the healthcare they need, when they need it, to stop them becoming seriously unwell.
“The reforms will also ensure the system is able to cope with the effects of an ageing population and respond more quickly to public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic,” Andrew Little said.
Associate Health Minister (Māori Health) Peeni Henare said while New Zealand’s health system performs well overall against most international comparisons, it has significant issues delivering for Māori who continue to lag behind in key health status indicators.
“Māori health has suffered under the current system for too long,” Peeni Henare said.
New Zealand Government Release, 21 April 2021
Associate Professor Tim Tenbensel, PPI board member and Associate Professor in the School of Population Health, has provided commentary on the changes in several media outlets:
NZ Doctor – Reforms may be transformative for non-mainstream primary care
NZ Doctor Podcast – The Big Reveal
The Conversation – No one is mourning the end of district health boards, but rebuilding trust in the system won’t be easy
RNZ – The Panel