Speech On New Health Leadership welcomed
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ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER
MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
SUNDAY 4 MAY 2008
“Health Minister’s Significant Speech On New Health Leadership Welcomed”
“Health Minister David Cunliffe’s speech to his Health Ministry on new leadership in the health system is arguably the most significant speech by a health minister since the district health board system was introduced in 2001,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on Mr Cunliffe’s speech to Health Ministry staff last Thursday and released today.
“Mr Cunliffe has identified a serious lack of national leadership within the health system which is hindering effective coordination and integration in decision-making. DHBs struggle to provide national leadership because of their immediate preoccupation with their own patches. Consequently Mr Cunliffe has directed the Ministry of Health to provide this national leadership. This is a significant change in the role of the Ministry from being largely advisory to becoming more operational and directive.”
“This is music to our ears. The DHB system has many positive features but unfortunately still has not overcome the fragmentation introduced in the 1990s by the ‘health reforms’ of that unfortunate decade. The Health Ministry has been too stand-offish. Consequently there is a lack of integration in our health system which, at times, resembles 21 different systems connected by a funding system. Mr Cunliffe appears to be putting the name ‘New Zealand’ at the forefront of our health system. This is appropriate in a small country like ours.”
“Director-General Stephen McKernan will have to ensure the Health Ministry steps up to the mark. Fortunately the restructuring in the Ministry that he has introduced is consistent with Mr Cunliffe’s new very welcome direction,” concluded Mr Powell.