This Statement of Intent 2010−2013 marks an important juncture for the planning, funding and delivery of health and disability services.
Foreword: Minister of Health
The Government has announced a programme of mutually reinforcing changes to the organisation of the health system, and the Ministry must change to support this. I am pleased with the progress we have already achieved, but there is a lot more work to be done to bed-in the reforms and deliver results.
The wellbeing of New Zealanders in a high-quality, patient-centred health system is the focus of the Government’s policy for ensuring all New Zealanders have the same opportunities for good health. Our challenge is to enhance the quality of services and realise efficiencies so that more of our resources are devoted to patient care.
New Zealand cannot afford the cost of its health care to continue to grow in an uncontrolled way, nor can we afford poor decision-making. The tight economy creates an unavoidable need to make the very best use of limited health resources while delivering the improvements in services that New Zealanders expect, particularly for those with the greatest needs. We need a health system that does the right things in the right order, has tightly focused roles that eliminate duplication, and has people with the right knowledge, skills and incentives to do the job.
The first significant step to improve performance and sustainability was the establishment of a new National Health Board and associated business unit within the Ministry. The role of the National Health Board and the dedicated business unit is to: co-ordinate the planning, funding and monitoring of District Health Boards; co-ordinate the planning and funding of national services; arbitrate in regional service disputes; and undertake national capacity planning and funding for workforce, information technology and capital.
My aim is to enhance regional and national co-operation through planning and funding designated specialist services that are of national significance. The designation of these services will be managed by the National Health Board business unit, in consultation with the clinicians and networks that manage these strategic services.
Reinforcing this improvement agenda will be a range of initiatives to streamline functions and processes and make sure the health infrastructure is better aligned to the developing needs of patients and the health system. This year will see key decisions made on how the Ministry will prioritise the procurement of medical devices and new technology and interventions. The Ministry is also reorganising itself to concentrate on its advisory and regulatory functions as well as managing the transition of functions to the National Health Board business unit.
Transparency and accountability are important. That is why I have committed regular public reporting on Health Targets performance. I have also been clear to District Health Boards that they must achieve financial stability and deliver agreed levels of service within budget.
We have the people and skills to meet the challenges we face. My commitment is to ensure we have the leadership, collaboration, focus on patients and partnerships with health professionals to deliver on this potential.
Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health