Over the last six weeks the Health Reform Transition Unit has been out around the motu visiting towns and cities to talk about the transformation of the health system.
So far, as at 3 December, the Transition Unit has held sessions for the health sector in 17 different locations. More than 3,000 people have joined in on the sessions so far, which Health Reform Transition Unit Director Stephen McKernan said was a great result.
“The health workforce is under pressure responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and we appreciate it is a big ask for them to take time out of their day to learn more about the health reform,” Stephen said.
“Our focus remains on ensuring as minimal disruption as possible as we transition to the new system in 2022.”
The roadshows have focused on the key elements that will change with the new system, including establishing the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, which will be an amalgamation of the 20 District Health Boards.
The new system also introduces a local approach to planning and commissioning health services based on “localities”.
“Localities will be a unique feature of the new health system,” Stephen said.
“We’re hearing how the those working in primary and community care settings are looking forward to the opportunity to do things differently at a local level, including integration across service providers and stronger relationships with Iwi and hapu through the Iwi Māori Partnership Boards.”
Roadshow sessions will continue in a number of North Island locations over the next two weeks.
What attendees thought
We asked attendees what they thought of the sessions they took part in. Here’s what they had to say.
Kelly Isles from Think Hauora and Fiona Bradley and Carol Bateman from MidCentral Community Pharmacy Group attended the Palmerston North session.
Kelly: “Taking a wider system approach – understanding that this isn’t about centralising everything. It’s about being smart and efficient in how we support things from the centre, but with strong involvement from iwi and communities.”
Fiona: “Hearing from Minister Little how localities will work, and how community partnerships will work – we’ve heard the words but not how they’d work until today. That was great.”
Christine Pihema said: “I came along to see what you’re doing to make a difference, a real difference, for Māori. We’re not there yet, but it’s on the right track.”
Iride McCloy said: “It was excellent. I love the focus on communities and localities and the shifts – but don’t forget the importance of mental health.”
Members of the Bay of Plenty DHB Health Consumer Council Adrienne von Tunzelmann and John Powell, and Bay of Plenty DHB Board member Ron Scott said:
Adrienne: “The biggest insight I got from today was a better sense of the breadth and scale of the new system. Until now, my focus has been on the consumer voice, so it was useful to see the size of the change.”
John: “It was a useful session. We have known for a while the current system does not deliver what is needed. I was encouraged by the comments about engaging more with consumers. I hope to participate more. We all have a stake in this.”
Ron: “From data issues to localities to Iwi Māori Partnership Boards. It’s a big job. The challenge is in the challenge to meet the challenge!”