This report from the National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability (NHC) to the Minister of Health recommends ways in which government agencies, health providers and community groups can contribute to improving the management of chronic conditions.
It includes summaries of case studies on people with chronic conditions and submissions for the project.
The social and economic costs of chronic conditions are high and affect all New Zealanders directly or indirectly. People with chronic conditions use a wide range of services repeatedly and often do so frequently. Changes to the health system that make it easier for people with chronic conditions to use these services are expected to benefit all people who use these services as well as for those who care for them.
The incidence of chronic conditions is increasing. Chronic conditions are a barrier to independence, participation in the workforce and in society. They account for a higher proportion of illness and deaths among Maori, people on low incomes and Pacific peoples than among the general population. Whole-of-government approaches are needed to address social and economic factors and more work needs to be done to improve health outcomes through culturally-appropriate service design and delivery.
The NHC seeks long-term structural changes as well as changes to current service delivery. Recommendations build on strategies, initiatives and work programmes already in place. The NHC is asking for the key actions it has put forward to be implemented as part of current and ongoing work programmes.
Commitment is sought from health sector organisations to work toward more integrated and aligned structures within the health system. Coordination and consistent processes across health and other organisations supports management of chronic conditions within the person’s life. Coordination can lead to a wider range of services being offered to patients and more promptly, improve care planning, and decrease patient risk.
The development and implementation of a chronic conditions framework within each district health board covering key aspects known to benefit people with chronic conditions
Whole district planning processes for community engagement to ensure planning is sustainable and makes effective use of resources
A contact person in each DHB to address issues that arise for people with chronic conditions when they have difficulty accessing health services due to the way the system is set up
Specific recommendations for assessment and treatment of depression and pain and improvements in referrals to rehabilitation and palliative care for people with chronic conditions