The transformation of the health system will happen over years, not months, starting with the new entities Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority. During this first phase, there will be a focus on three key areas to improve people’s experience of healthcare.
Firstly, things will be more unified with fewer entities working across the country in a more co-ordinated way. People working in health will work across geographic boundaries and in collaboration with other healthcare professionals for the benefit of patients, whānau and communities.
And, because the health system is coordinated nationally, the approach to designing and delivering healthcare will be consistent across the country. Many important funding or policy decisions can be made once, rather than multiple times.
A focus on equity is a cornerstone of the future of health in New Zealand. This will remove uneven or inconsistent standards of service and support a wider range of different types of healthcare that can be tailored to better meet the needs of people these services are set up to serve.
Processes will be much simpler. Similar functions, like financial management or procurement, can be brought together at a national level to support consistency and standardisation across the motu. This allows valuable resources previously tied up with regionally duplicated work to dedicate more resource to delivering frontline healthcare services.
Underpinning these focus areas is the commitment to speak with, and listen to, people across the health system, communities and whānau. People and patients will be at the heart of all decision-making.
Additionally, with a national health network we can better use existing resources in the system to provide care to more people. And by planning and funding health care services at a national level, delivering them regionally, and working with communities to tailor that care locally, people will get more of the health care they need, where and when they need it.
To do this, some ‘building blocks’ needed to be in place.