The changes being made to our health system include a new national approach to improve how healthcare is delivered in communities. 

This new approach, referred to as localities, will focus on avoiding people getting sick and helping whānau stay well, give iwi and communities a strong voice in deciding what’s needed in their local area, and get different health and wellbeing organisations working together better to improve people’s experiences of healthcare. 

The new approach will replace the way things are currently done through District Health Boards and Primary Healthcare Organisations. The people doing this work now will still be involved, but they will work differently.

Iwi and the local community will determine their own geographic area that will become the ‘locality’. The areas will be small enough to still have a local feel for the people that live there. Everyone in Aotearoa will fit into a locality that reflects their community. 

It is the work that happens within the area, or locality, that will make a difference to people’s health and wellbeing: 

  • Iwi and communities will be involved in deciding on the health priorities for their community. For example, one locality might have a need for more diabetes support – and it will be up to local partnerships to agree on whether dedicated services are needed.
  • The care and support that is delivered will be joined up across different health and wellbeing providers. For example, someone’s GP, local pharmacist and in-home nurse will work better together to provide the wraparound care and support that person needs.
  • Health and wellbeing providers will be connected to other community organisations that have a role in supporting people. This will ensure that we can better support all of whānau’s needs, across areas like housing, employment and finances, alongside healthcare.

Things will be different for people once these areas are up and running: 

  • They won’t have to talk to as many people to get the full range of care that they need. That’s because different health and wellbeing providers will work together behind the scenes.
  • Healthcare providers will be linked into social care agencies. So, if someone is having trouble paying rent, that will be taken into account when their health and wellbeing is being assessed.
  • People will have more opportunities to influence what healthcare services are available in their communities.

For more information on localities and the first areas that will roll out the locality approach, read this fact sheet: Localities Update for the Health Sector - April 2022 [PDF, 1.2 MB]


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