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Health sector gives high level support for reforms

Health sector gives high level support for reforms

The Ministry of Health says the health sector?s support for many of the changes made under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 is a welcome and timely endorsement.

?We also recognise their less-favourable perceptions and are striving to fine-tune where appropriate and to implement more significant change where necessary,? Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi said today.

Dr Poutasi was commenting on an interim report on the health reforms by independent researchers, released today by the Health Services Research Centre.

?The changes we have been implementing in the health sector start with a broad-brush approach - as in the New Zealand Health Strategy and the Primary Health Care Strategy. This gives us the flexibility to work through the details with others in the sector as we implement change, and refine them over time. Commissioning and publishing this sort of research demonstrates our commitment both to learn as we go, and to openness,? Dr Poutasi said.

The report highlights a high level of support for many of the changes such as having national strategies as well as the development of a greater relationship between the community and government-funded health services.

Dr Poutasi says while the findings of the report are encouraging the Ministry acknowledges greater support from the sector will assist future implementation of changes.

?At a broad level the findings are positive and there are no calls for major change. However there are many findings that will improve the functioning of the sector. We have already taken action on many of the findings and have responses planned for others.?

Dr Poutasi says the Ministry is already focusing on improving two-way communication with District Health Boards.

?DHBs were supportive of the relationships they had with our account managers but to complement this they felt overall communication channels needed to be improved.?

The evaluation also identified difficulties in ensuring a sufficient level of Mäori and Pacific representation on the boards of DHBs. The Ministry is currently working on introducing the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system for the next election which is expected to facilitate broader representation.

?The report has confirmed the importance of many issues and given us that greater level of detail to determine where we direct our resources.?

The Interim Report on Health Reforms 2001 can be viewed online at then Publications, then New Reports

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