The need for reform of the New Zealand health system is clear. While the public health system performs well overall by some measures, it has significant and persistent issues in delivering equity and consistency for all.
An ageing population, advances in care and a growing burden from chronic disease mean that demand for health services will only grow over decades to come. There are indications that our health system is struggling to keep up with current demand, and that our workforce needs greater support to keep New Zealanders well for longer.
In 2018, the Government commissioned an independent review into our health system: the Health and Disability System Review/Hauora Manaaki Ki Aotearoa Whānui(external link) (the Review).
The Review was based on widespread consultation with the health and disability sectors and interested parties over an 18-month period.
The Review was the starting point for reform – it found a fragmented health system that does not serve everyone well and produces unequal outcomes, particularly for vulnerable populations. This reform accepted the clear case for change and builds on the future direction set by the Review.
The Government's commitment to address inequalities was highlighted in the Speech from the Throne from the Governor General(external link) on 26 November 2020.