A key feature of the new health system is a local approach to the planning and service delivery of health services – we call this the locality approach.
A locality is, essentially, a geographic area that makes sense to the people that live there. It might follow iwi or rohe lines, or it might follow a similar boundary to current regional or local councils.
Localities will create a platform for iwi Māori Partnership Boards (IMPBs) to exercise tino rangatiratanga as the tangata whenua partner in planning around health priorities and services at the locality level. IMPBs will ensure the voices of whānau Māori are elevated and made visible within the health system and embed mātauranga Māori within locality plans.
The locality is intended to drive a focus on equity and priority populations, and foster integration of care models and services and to ensure people have greater choice over the services they access. It also offers a platform to implement a population health approach, drive innovation and ensure that services are planned for all local people, delivered seamlessly, and that providers work collectively towards shared objectives.
Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority will work together to define localities and develop locality plans, which will outline what and how services will be delivered. Iwi Māori Partnership Boards will be integral to developing the locality plans.
While localities are the geographic area, provider networks will be established that will deliver health services to people in localities. These networks will be made up of multiple providers, from individual health professionals to larger organisations, and they may span multiple localities.
The Transition Unit is developing a phased plan for establishing localities, with the first locality “prototypes” to be confirmed in the first quarter of 2022. These localities will be used to test and refine the approach to localities with lessons applied in the ongoing phased rollout.