As a result of the Health and Disability System Reforms, the Ministry of Health’s role as chief strategic advisor and kaitiaki (steward) of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health and disability system will be strengthened and some of the things it does will change.

What’s changing? / He aha ngā panonitanga?

The Ministry will continue in its enduring role as chief steward and kaitiaki for the system. However, some changes will be made to strengthen this role and to ensure our health system delivers more equitable outcomes for all New Zealanders.

The Ministry’s role will be refocused on strategy, policy, regulation and monitoring the outcomes achieved by the system as a whole. The Ministry will lead the system in its role as kaitiaki, ensuring good evidence informs strategy and policy development, and will work with the other organisations within the system to enable effective delivery of services.

What will it look like in the future? / Ka pēhea ā raurangi?

The role of Director-General of Health will continue – the role remains the head of the health system. Statutory roles such as the Director of Public Health and Director of Mental Health will also remain within the Ministry.

A new Public Health Agency within the Ministry will lead population and public health policy, strategy, regulatory, intelligence, surveillance and monitoring functions across the system.

This will see more emphasis on the determinants of health such as employment and housing which will mean working more closely with relevant government agencies and community partners and using intelligence and monitoring to strengthen the system to enable New Zealanders to live longer, healthier lives.

You can read more about the Public Health Agency on the Ministry of Health’s website(external link).

What’s next? / He aha e whai ake nei?

The Ministry is committed to ensuring the current health and disability system delivers through the transition for all New Zealanders, with a strong focus on leading the COVID-19 health response, supporting the Government's elimination strategy, and the successful roll out of the vaccine.

Keeping the health system running is one of the Health Minister’s top priorities. We will retain our focus on this priority through our daily work, delivering against our Whakamaua: Māori Health Action Plan 2020–25(external link) and Ola Manuia: Pacific Health & Wellbeing Action Plan 2020–25(external link).

DHBs and the Ministry will retain their roles and accountabilities until new legislation comes into effect in July 2022.

An interim Health New Zealand and interim Māori Health Authority were established in September 2021 and are hosted by the Ministry of Health as Departmental Agencies until the permanent entities come into effect.

Changes to the structures of the system will not have an immediate impact on how, where and when New Zealanders receive care, or where and how you work, if you're a member of the health workforce.

The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Transition Unit to shape and lead these changes.

Together, we will make healthcare accessible for all New Zealanders. We will support New Zealanders in getting the services they need, and we will support them to meet future challenges.

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