Services should be organised around the needs of Māori and their whānau rather than the needs of providers.
To achieve this, the Government, along with the health and social sector, needs to focus on removing infrastructural, financial, cultural, geographical, physical and other barriers between health and other social services that act as obstacles to seamless delivery of care.
Improvements in Māori health may also lead to improvements in other areas and vice versa. For example, higher educational achievement and good-quality employment often improve health outcomes. Poor health can also adversely affect people’s education and employment opportunities.
Working across sectors is not the sole responsibility of any part of the health system. The different levels of the system, from providers to DHBs to the Ministry of Health, need to seek out partners across a range of sectors to allow for better service integration, planning and support for Māori and their whānau. One example includes new approaches to the disability support system, addressed in Enabling Good Lives, that will give disabled Māori and their families increased choice and control over the support they receive and have required government agencies to work together differently, for example by integrating funding and contracts.
This cross-sectoral work includes building links with regional and local councils, as well as with community-based providers. Government agencies must seek connections with non-governmental organisations that deliver different types of services within the wider health and social sector and support better integration of services.
The closer alignment of health and social services presents opportunities to:
- deliver services more effectively
- improve the continuum of care
- improve outcomes for Māori across a range of areas.
Te Ara Tuawhā in practice
‘It’s wonderful to see the kids’ eyes light up when they see the colourful, healthy kai laid out.’
Te Hapū O Ngāti Wheke is the heart of the Rāpaki community in Banks Peninsula, and it’s a heart the hapū are committed to keeping healthy.
Rāpaki Office manager Cushla Dwyer is helping lead the challenge of creating a healthier environment.
‘We were amazed so many people took time out of the event to get their heart health checked.’
Bringing health services direct to whānau was the aim of the Hauora Village at the 2015 Te Matatini national Kapa Haka Festival.
Canterbury District Health Board bought over 30 organisations together at the 30,000 strong event to showcase their services for Māori health.