Foreword: Minister of Health
This is the Ministry of Health’s Statement of Intent for 2009–2012. It sets out how the Ministry will focus on making the improvements to the public health system the Government requires and describes a more focused role for the Ministry that better positions it to deliver value for money.
As I have travelled around the country I have talked with many health professionals, and their dedication and commitment make me very optimistic about the future of New Zealand’s health system. Our health workforce is world class, but it is clear to me that many of those who participate in it are concerned about the current state of our health system.
Like health professionals, the public – and therefore patients – see a system where increasing amounts of money have been invested, taking up an ever larger proportion of the national income, without commensurate growth or improvement in services. People have become frustrated by unnecessary bureaucracy, long waits for patient assessment and specialised treatment, and an evident deterioration in some services.
The Government is determined to turn this situation around. New Zealanders want access to ‘Better, sooner, more convenient’ health services, and they want accountability for results. The Government has listened to what New Zealanders have said and we will be implementing a number of initiatives that will, among other things, increase the influence of professional front-line staff working in the sector, reduce waiting times for elective services, reduce waiting times in emergency departments, and devolve more services to primary and community settings.
To measure the impact of these changes, we have introduced six Health Targets that have a particular focus on better access to hospital services, prevention of ill health and improving the health of our children.
The changes this Government intends to make will improve the system for patients and health professionals alike. The changes will also contribute to making the health system adaptable and resilient enough to deal with the challenges we know lie ahead. This is essential if our system is to flourish and thrive in the decades to come.
The Government’s overarching goal is to enable New Zealanders to live longer, healthier and more independent lives. This Statement of Intent describes how the Ministry of Health will contribute to achieving it.
Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health