How your voice can shape the health care you want

The new health system is designed to strengthen the voice of people, whānau and communities - especially for those who most need better health care and better health outcomes – so you can have more say in what and how health services are delivered in your community.

Consumer and Whānau Voice

A new framework is being developed to ensure consumers’ voices are heard and that Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand’s services meet people’s needs. 

One of the health system principles in the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 requires Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority to involve communities in planning and improvement.

To do that, they will engage with consumers, whānau and communities in line with the Code of Expectations.

Additional to what is set out in the legislation, Consumer Health Forum Aotearoa (external link)connects consumers with the health system and the Centre of Excellence supports the health system to engage in a meaningful and person-centred way.

We are streamlining and improving feedback and complaints processes to make it easier for all consumers and whānau to provide feedback on their experience of care, and for Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority to utilise this feedback to drive system design and continuous improvement. This includes developing complaints and feedback approaches that work better for Māori, Pasifika, people with disabilities and other priority groups who have not been served well in the past.

Having a single national health system means that we can gather feedback, complaints data, compliments, and patients’ reported experiences and outcomes from across the motu and gain better insights into what is and isn’t working for people nationally as well as locally. This will help us provide a better, more responsive health care service.

Localities provide further connection with consumers and whānau as they are required to deliver services that meet the needs and preferences of local communities. Through the ‘localities model’, people can participate in the planning and commissioning of community-based care to ensure that services reflect the particular needs of their community.

Read more about Localities

Consumer health forum Aotearoa - Wāhi whakawhiti kōrero hauora

The Consumer Health Forum Aotearoa provides consumers and whānau with meaningful opportunities to have a say in the design and delivery of health services. This forum will support Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand to deliver a people-and whānau-centred system based on the voices of all.

The forum, hosted by the Health Quality & Safety Commission(external link), provides a place for consumers, whānau and communities to connect, share their thoughts and provide valuable insights to help improve the health sector. The forum also connects whānau, consumers and communities with opportunities to influence the health sector at a national, regional and local level. It is intended that the forum will ensure that all perspectives are reflected in the design, delivery, and evaluation of services.

To find out more or participate in the consumer health forum Aotearoa (external link)

Centre for Excellence

The Health Quality Safety Commission (HQSC) has been supported to develop a centre of excellence for consumer and whānau engagement, actively strengthening the consumer and whānau voice in the health system. The Centre of Excellence will support Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority, and local communities to engage with consumers and whānau.

This focus reflects the health reform vision of a health system with consumers and whānau at its heart, where their voices are strongly embedded in the planning, delivery, evaluation and governance of health services.

Code of Expectations

The draft Code of Expectations(external link) sets out how the health system should engage with consumers and whānau, and supports the legislation. These expectations guide how health and disability service providers and organisations should involve, share decision making and work effectively in partnerships with consumers/whānau.

Alongside the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer Rights, the Code of Expectations describes how the people working within the health and disability system will engage with consumers/whānau to effectively understand and meet their needs.  This includes specifying the values that guide engagement, as well as the ways these interactions will happen. For example, consumers/ whānau are asked about and supported to be present to engage in ways that are the most effective for them.

Early development of these expectations has included establishing a draft set of principles for the code with input from the Commission’s consumer network, consumer advisory group, Te Rōpū Māori and the chairs and deputy chairs of the district health board consumer councils. Following publication of the code, the Commission will publish a range of implementation guidance and resources to support health entities to operate in line with the Code.

Strengthening the Māori voice

Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority enriches the health system with a stronger Māori voice. Ways of delivering health care services that work better for Māori will be designed at a local level and supported by the Māori perspective in the way policy is developed. As part of the localities approach, provider networks will also work to establish and support community-based providers including Māori and Pacific providers, GPs and other community care providers, to work together in comprehensive primary and community care teams – making more services available locally.

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