Television New Zealand has reported that Andrew Little is to announce that district health boards are to go. The announcement is being made formally right now in Parliament by Andrew Little but media have had an embargoed opportunity to view the changes.
New Zealand’s health system is in for a significant shake up. Changes include an end to district health boards in favour for a national organisation, as well as creating a new Māori Health Authority and a new public health agency.
The announcement by Health Minister Andrew Little comes after a scathing report found New Zealand’s health system was under “serious stress”, lacked leadership and did not serve Māori or people with disabilities well.
Today’s changes go even further than the recommendations in the Health and Disability System Review – instead of reducing the number of DHBs – it scraps the model altogether.
“The reforms will mean that for the first time, we will have a truly national health system, and the kind of treatment people get will no longer be determined by where they live,” Little said.
The national organisation will be named Health New Zealand which will have four regional divisions.
It will run hospitals and commission primary and community health services.
“The reforms herald a change in focus for the health system, we will treat people before they get sick so they don’t need to go to hospital, thereby taking the pressure off hospitals.
There is also to be a new Māori Health Authority which will have powers to commission health services, monitor Māori health and develop policy.
There will be a huge amount of detail behind the announcement. But the basic rationale, that we had 20 separate organisations delivering health services to our country and that service was expensive and fragmented, is hard to dispute.