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Health And Disability Briefing Papers Released

30 August 2002

Health And Disability Briefing Papers Released

Health Minister Annette King today released Ministry of Health Advice to the Incoming Minister (AIM) on the best opportunities for the health and disability sector to build on its foundations and to do better for New Zealanders.

“AIM 2002 presents the current issues facing the sector and actions that will strengthen the system and improve outcomes,” Ms King said.

“The Ministry recommends that we will do better for New Zealanders if, over the next three years, we build on the foundations that are already in place for funding arrangements, structures and policy settings,” said Ms King.

“Its advice is that we focus energy and leadership on maturing the sector to achieve better health outcomes, participation in communities by people with disabilities, and participation in decision-making by the public. Significant changes would divert people, money, enthusiasm and energy from services delivery and improving outcomes.

“In order to achieve the best outcomes, it is strongly recommended that the whole sector consolidate, simplify and focus on a clear direction. The New Zealand Health and Disability Strategies provide this direction.”

Some of the areas to be built on and improved over the next three years include: reducing inequalities for Maori, Pacific peoples and those on low incomes, managing expectations and improving trust, supporting the continuing development of District Health Boards, promoting the development of Primary Health Organisations, implementing changes in legislation and education that develop the workforce, and making real improvements to health information systems.

Ms King said the Ministry identified that doing better for New Zealanders meant tackling some difficult issues.

“However, the Ministry advises that innovative approaches, by their nature, challenge the status-quo and involve risk, and we need to focus on long-term goals and not be compromised by short-term solutions - it does take a long time to achieve change in the health and disability sector.”

Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson says the Ministry of Health’s priorities for the next two years included separating disability support services for people aged 65 years and over from services for younger people; developing a strategic direction for younger people with disabilities, based on the New Zealand Disability Strategy’s vision of an inclusive society; and improving national consistency of services.

Ms Dyson said most people with disabilities want to live in the community as independently as possible, and home-based support expenditure had more than doubled in the last five years.

"The ministry is carrying out a comprehensive review of home-based support services because of the critical role they perform. The aim of this review is to strengthen inter-sectoral planning, contracting and delivery of these services. Workforce planning issues, particularly for caregivers in residential services and home-based carers, are a priority."

The AIM reports are available on the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz

BACKGROUND

The AIM advice is at three levels:

- AIM 1 is the overarching strategic advice: Doing better for New Zealanders: better health, better participation, reduced inequalities

- AIM 2 comprises four documents: Disability support services: increasing participation and independence; New Zealand health and disability sector: the organisations; The health and independence report 2001; and the Ministry of Health statement of intent 2002

- AIM 3 comprises a detailed package of papers on specific aspects of the sector such as ACC, mental health and individual DHBs


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