More than 700 members of the health workforce have taken part in sessions on the health system reform as the first week of a national roadshow comes to an end.
The roadshow visited Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch and Timaru and moves on to Nelson and the West Coast next week.
The health system is being transformed to ensure New Zealand’s public health service works better for everyone by being fairer, easier to access, more equitable and consistent.
The reform includes establishing a single national entity, Health New Zealand, which will be an amalgamation of all 20 District Health Boards in New Zealand and developing local arrangements between health service providers, Iwi and Māori and the community to tailor services to local communities.
A Māori Health Authority is also being established to give Māori a strong voice in the system and address inequity.
The roadshows offer people across the health sector an opportunity to learn more about the reform from representatives of the Health Reform Transition Unit. Attendees, both in-person and virtually, have heard about why the reforms are taking place, the progress that is being made and what's coming next. Health Minister Andrew Little and Associate Minister for Health Peeni Henare have also attended some of the sessions - either in person or virtually.
Across the roadshow sessions already completed, interest has been wide-ranging, with questions raised on funding, disability, equity, oral health, the NZ Health Plan, future structure, property, accountability and monitoring, the rainbow community, pay equity, the role of data and digital and how localities will work.
Deputy Director of the Health Transition Unit, Martin Hefford, said it was exciting to be out on the road talking to a wide range of people in the workforce.
"It's been great to meet with people from right across the health system both to understand the key questions many have about the health reform, and to share as much information that we can on our transformation progress," Martin said.
"We've got people joining us from local DHBs, hauora Māori and Pacific health providers, and primary and community health care organisations. It has included people from clinical roles, administrators, management and a range of other health professions.
"The health sector workforce has an absolutely critical role in delivering the transformation - they’re where the rubber hits the road. They need to know what the new system will deliver for them, and for the people, whānau and communities they care for," Martin said.
"It's an incredibly busy time for the health sector, and I do want to acknowledge how difficult it can be to attend these types of events, either in person or virtually.
Martin said one of the key updates being delivered during the workshops was that the reform programme was progressing well.
"We want to make sure people have the chance to learn more about what's been achieved, what's underway, and importantly, what they can expect over the next nine months in the lead up to 1 July 2022, when the major building blocks of the new system will be in place and ready for the next phase of the transformation," Martin said.
Those in the health workforce wanting to attend the sessions in Nelson or the West Coast can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll forward the details to you.
In early November, the roadshows head up to the North Island, with 18 sessions being planned. Location and alert level dependant, the sessions will be either in-person and virtual, or solely virtual. More details on how to sign up will be provided soon.