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The Quarterly

Building New Zealand's Health System for the Future Print E-mail

On 23rd September 2017, an election will be held to determine the membership of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament.  In the lead up to the election, RACMA developed a statement outlining how RACMA's Fellows can work with government and policy makers to help build New Zealand's health system for the future.  RACMA's statement follows.

RACMA is a specialist medical college whose focus is to support sound health systems stewardship, through training medical practitioners in leadership and management to improve systems of patient care and service delivery.

RACMA has more than 1,000 Fellows, Associate Fellows and trainees in public and private health settings principally across Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. RACMA’s Fellows and Associates occupy senior roles in central agencies and health services that drive and enact health system change.

In New Zealand, we are fortunate to have a publicly funded universal health system with a strong focus on primary care and wellness. However, the evidence is clear that inequities in the determinants of health including in education, employment, income, housing, income support, incarceration, health literacy, deprivation, and access to health care exist between both Māori and Pacific peoples, and non-Māori, non-Pacific populations. In addition, health system performance indicators such as ambulatory sensitive hospital admissions (preventable admissions) among Māori and Pacific peoples, are higher than those of the overall New Zealand population, suggesting a strong need to identify and address key drivers in primary health and community settings.

In 2016, the Ministry of Health released the updated New Zealand Health Strategy that sets the future direction of the health and disability system. Implementing this strategy will require rethinking the position of health in society, and the way healthcare is delivered in the community. It requires thinking about health and wellbeing more broadly and partnering with consumers of health and disability services; specifically, understanding people’s needs and preferences to co-design services.

Improving health outcomes of people in this way can actually result in savings and gains that can be invested elsewhere in the community.

Supporting the New Zealand Health Strategy, the Health Quality & Safety Commission recently released a framework for clinical governance. The framework‘s underpinning principles are consumer/patient centred care, undertaken in an open and transparent culture, with a continuous quality improvement focus.

Attaining this will need visionary leadership, strong clinical engagement and clinical involvement in management at all levels.

RACMA Fellows use their clinical knowledge, skill and judgment combined with post graduate leadership and management training, to engage with other health professionals, managers, policymakers, and most importantly with patients and their families/whānau to develop health systems that deliver safe, equitable, efficient and effective, patient-centred care.

In improving the quality and experience of healthcare, it is important to bring together medical and management expertise to drive strategic design across domains that will ultimately enable effective responses to be developed and delivered to meet the health needs of different people that make up New Zealand’s population. RACMA’s Fellows possess this expertise and offer to be actively involved and work with the next government to build New Zealand’s health system for the future.


Prof Michael Cleary PSM

Last Updated on Friday, 15 September 2017 12:34