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Frequently asked questions

Questions in this section:

What were the main recommendations of the Health and Disability System Review?

The main recommendation of the Review was for a nationally integrated system where services are tailored to the needs and values of its users, rather than service providers:

  • Making population health a foundational element of the system, including the creation of a networked approach to primary and community services.
  • Strengthening the coherence of the system by aligning long-term national, regional and local planning, funding and accountability arrangements to provide more central guidance, closer clinical and financial performance management, and greater transparency of performance.

The Review recommended structural change to support clearer lines of accountability and national coherence. These entities included:

  1. The Ministry of Health as chief steward with responsibility for policy, strategy, legislation, long-term system outcomes and monitoring, building population health capacity and leading the Budget process.
  2. A new organisation, provisionally called Health New Zealand, to provide national leadership of health service delivery, both clinical and financial.
  3. A new organisation provisionally called Māori Health Authority, to provide policy and strategy advice on Māori health and to consider possibly directly commissioning Māori provider and workforce development, and to support Health New Zealand and DHBs with the commissioning of Māori health services.
  4. A reduction in the number of DHBs from 20 to between 8 and 12, over a five-year period, and strengthening their accountability for improving equitable health outcomes in their own populations and contributing to the efficiency and effectiveness of the nationwide health and disability system.
  5. A much greater focus on Māori health, updating relevant clauses in legislation, strengthening DHB-Iwi partnerships, requiring DHBs to improve equity of Māori health outcomes in their strategic and locality plans, and ensuring funding formulas better reflect unmet need.

The final details and structures are still being reviewed and are expected to be confirmed by Cabinet in late March. An announcement is expected in April 2021.

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What difference will it make for Māori, Pacific peoples and disabled people?

The Government is committed to a Māori Health Authority. The Minister of Health recently noted that the Government is currently considering the other organisations recommended in the Health and Disability System Review / Hauora Manaaki Ki Aotearoa Whānui. Addressing the issues of inequality for Māori, Pacific peoples and people with disabilities will be an important factor when reviewing the Transition Unit's recommendation for the Government.

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What are the plans for setting up the Māori Health Authority?

The Government is committed to a Māori Health Authority. The Minister of Health recently noted that the Government is currently considering the other organisations recommended in the Health and Disability System Review / Hauora Manaaki Ki Aotearoa Whānui.

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How many DHBs will there be?

No decisions have been made yet. Cabinet is expected to make decisions by the end of March and will announce them in April. The Health and Disability System Review included recommendations to reduce the number of DHBs to between 8-12. The final details and structures are still being reviewed and will be considered by Cabinet in late March. An announcement is expected in April 2021.

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When will this all happen?

No decisions have been made yet. Cabinet will begin to make decisions by the end of March and will announce them in April. The final details and structures are still being reviewed and will be confirmed by Cabinet when it considers the recommendations in late March.

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Will there be engagement with the sector?

There was widespread consultation and engagement as part of the Health and Disability System Review and the recommendations it made. The Transition Unit is continuing to engage with the sector and stakeholders. This will continue after announcements are made in April.

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When will the sector get to see the detail of what you are planning and get a chance to provide feedback?

No decisions have been made yet. Cabinet will begin to make decisions by the end of March and will announce them in April. The final details and structures are still being reviewed and will be confirmed by Cabinet when it considers the recommendations in late March. An announcement is expected in April 2021.

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What has been happening in the six months since the Heather Simpson Review?

The focus of the programme now is developing the high-level options for Cabinet to consider in late March. That has involved the establishment of the Transition Unit and ongoing discussions with sector and operational leads. No decisions have been made yet. The final details and structures are still being reviewed and will be confirmed by Cabinet in late March. An announcement is expected in April 2021.

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Last updated: 
Thursday, 18 February 2021

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