As the Government’s advisor for health and disability, the Ministry is charged with setting the direction for Māori health and guiding the sector as we work to increase access, achieve equity and improve outcomes for Māori.
The Ministry of Health is making changes to improve performance in a number of areas, including:
- improving outcomes for Māori and achieving health equity
- a stronger focus on equity and evidence-based action
- embedding the improvement of Māori health across the organisation.
As part of this process, the functions of Te Kete Hauora, (the Ministry’s former Māori health business unit) have been integrated across the Ministry’s new business units. One of the drivers for this change was to boost the whole Ministry’s capability and capacity to address Māori health inequities.
Māori Leadership is a new executive role and is responsible for driving the Ministry’s goal of improving Māori health outcomes and achieving Māori health equity across the Ministry. All policy advice, research and programme functions of Te Kete Hauora continue to be delivered.
New Zealand Health Strategy
In 2016, the Government released its refreshed New Zealand Health Strategy. The special relationship between Māori and the Crown is given effect in the five principles of the strategy:
- people powered - Māori participation in service delivery
- closer to home – Māori organisations and their unique ability to service their communities
- value and high performance – the importance of achieving health equity and improving outcomes in health status across population groups and Māori health
- one team – acknowledging the role of Māori in the health system, as users of services, as a significant contributor to the health workforce and through Māori institutions
- smart system – ensuring that any technological advances provide an equivalent benefits to Māori as to the rest of the population.
Initiated in November 2016, the Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry (Wai 2575) will hear all claims concerning grievances relating to health services and outcomes of national significance. As of March 2018, there are currently around 170 claims seeking to participate in the inquiry. The claims are historical and contemporary covering a range of issues relating to the health system, specific health services and outcomes, including health equity, primary care, disability services and Māori health providers.
The parties received directions in December 2017 from the presiding officer, Judge Clark confirming the inquiry will be a three staged approach:
- priority areas that demonstrate system issues
- nationally significant system issues and themes that emerge
- remaining themes of national significance, including eligible historical claims
Judge Clark has confirmed primary care will be heard in stage one with a hearing expected in October 2018. The proposed priority areas for stage two are: Mental health (including suicide and self-harm); Māori with disabilities; and alcohol and substance abuse.
Find out more about the Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry on the Waitangi Tribunal website.