We enjoy good health and health services in New Zealand. But looking to the future, we will need to work differently to meet changing health needs.
This refreshed New Zealand Health Strategy (the Strategy) sets the framework for the health system to address the pressures and significant demands on its services and on the health budget. As the first refresh of this country’s health strategy since 2000, it sets the direction for development during the next 10 years.
This strategy is the result of extensive consultation throughout New Zealand. It is designed to address our changing health priorities and fiscal targets. It encourages innovation and creating and using opportunities, including the exciting potential of medical and information and communications technologies.
Overwhelmingly, I heard the need for a greater focus on people, how to engage better in designing services together and how to better understand people’s needs. I also heard from many in the sector, and this was reinforced during consultation on the draft strategy, that they are ready and willing to embrace the changes we need to make to breathe life into the New Zealand Health Strategy — that they are committed to leading their different parts of the system toward a common future. In a complex and devolved system, commitment to changing how we work is critical to achieving success.
This updated strategy shares the common view of where we want to go in New Zealand health. The five themes – people-powered, closer to home, value and high performance, one team and smart system – are cornerstones in establishing a health sector that understands people’s needs and provides services that are integrated across sectors, emphasising investment early in life, maintaining wellness, preventing illness, and providing support for the final stages of life.
The health sector will need to be adaptable in coming years as developing technology changes how services can be delivered in ways we do not yet understand. The support of being one team with a common purpose provides the base for adaptation and innovation needed for value and high performance that will in turn lead to a sustainable and enduring public health service.
This strategy pursues equitable outcomes for all New Zealanders. It reinforces the provisions in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 to recognise and respect the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi with more support to participate in the sector and in making decisions on services. Given the poorer health experienced by Māori, the Strategy also stresses that services must be provided more effectively for Māori.
We need to work on all New Zealanders achieving equitable health outcomes, and we will target and tailor services for those groups who have poorer health and social outcomes than the population on average, for example Pacific peoples, people with disabilities and people with mental health conditions.
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health