New Zealand’s health sector to adopt ‘one team approach’ to improve patient care

By on 19/04/2016 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Dr Jonathan Coleman is New Zealand's Minister of Health and Minister for Sport and Recreation.

New Zealand’s government has pledged to support a “one team” approach across the health sector by bringing together public officials from different backgrounds to discuss government priorities, share international and national best practices and build leadership capabilities.

The Ministry of Health will facilitate forums every year to be attended by health professionals, carers and volunteers, suppliers of goods and services, researchers and those working in related areas such as housing, education and employment, which will be used to advise the health minister on system priorities.

The forums “will also contribute to a culture of trust and partnership, both within the health sector and across other sectors, with consumers and other actors,” according to an action plan set out in the government’s new 10-year health strategy released yesterday.

The Roadmap of actions 2016 also calls for the forums to be used to share progress on the implementation of the health strategy; share best practices and “identify, publicise and spread examples of innovation that demonstrate improvements in equity of health outcomes, efficiency, quality and safety, and reduction of harm”; and on clinicians to “share innovative models for preventing and managing long-term conditions and agree on best practices that should be used nationally.”

The plan, which identifies 27 areas for action over five years to implement the strategy, also announces a number of measures to improve leadership, capability and performance among health officials.

The health department will develop a system-wide leadership and talent management programme similar to that being developed by the State Services Commission (see our interview with Andrew Hampton, New Zealand’s first ever chief talent officer); and put in place workforce development initiatives to “enhance capacity, capability, diversity and succession planning and build workforce flexibility.”

The Ministry of Health pledges to “identify and use workforce data to inform workforce planning and development where a workforce is vulnerable, and will initiate a remedial work programme to address this vulnerability” and to work with a range of other public sector organisations to track and publish progress towards a goal of workforce diversity.

The plan also calls for a new performance management approach which “makes use of streamlined reporting at all levels, to make the whole system publicly transparent.”

This, the document adds, “will draw on service user experience results as well as quality and safety information, and operate within the outcomes framework.”

Health minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said his department is currently reorganising the way it operates in order to support the strategy’s implementation.

“We need a strengthened and streamlined Ministry, which is empowered to lead the health system.

“This reorganisation will ensure clearer roles and accountabilities, and reduce duplication.”

The new strategy, which outlines the government’s future vision in health, he said, will serve “to guide change in the health sector and to lead the transformation to a more innovative, integrated and patient-centred approach to healthcare in New Zealand.”

He added: “We need a unified health system with shared values.

“We need better ways of working together to ensure all New Zealanders have access to the healthcare they need.

“We want to see more services delivered in the community, a stronger push on prevention and self-management, as well as care closer to home.

“This new strategy will ensure better integration of health and social services, a health workforce that’s well equipped and supported by strong leaders and networks, more involvement in service design by users, and a system well placed to take advantage of emerging technologies.”

The Ministry of Health led the update of the strategy and engaged with the sector, social service providers and health users over the last year.

The strategy has been criticised by public sector unions for failing to make mental health a priority.


For up to date government news and international best practice follow us on Twitter @globegov

See also:

Looking after number one: prioritisation in government

Interview: John Manzoni, chief executive, UK Civil Service

Colin MacDonald, CIO for the government of New Zealand: Exclusive Interview

Andrew Hampton to lead New Zealand national security agency

Managing the EU Migration Crisis

Una O’Brien, permanent secretary, UK Department of Health: Exclusive Interview

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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