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King commends NZ Health Strategy implementation

King commends efforts to implement NZ Health Strategy

Health Minister Annette King says the second annual report on implementing the NZ Health Strategy illustrates a real commitment to progress.

"Implementing the New Zealand Health Strategy 2002 makes it clear that District Health Boards and healthcare providers are embracing the New Zealand Health Strategy through many exciting initiatives.”

Ms King said that the NZHS - published in 2000 - contained 61 population health objectives, 13 of which, such as improving nutrition, and reducing incidence of diabetes, obesity and family violence, were chosen for priority implementation.

“Today's report contains case studies outlining just a few initiatives that have been taken over the past two years to meet these challenges.”

Ms King said some examples were:

Tackling obesity and teaching children and their families about nutrition, health and exercise is the aim of South Auckland-based South Seas Kids childhood obesity programme.

Kaipara Care, based at Northland's Dargaville Hospital and funded by Northland DHB, was established to co-ordinate health services for people and communities in its region. It has 36 member providers, including rest home operators and pharmacists and has successfully carried out asthma, diabetes, nursing, immunisation and older people's care projects.

Waisting Time, a healthy lifestyle programme for women in Temuka and Timaru, provides robust evidence-based information to help participants change eating patterns and increase physical activity.

"The NZHS priorities relate to deep-seated, and not quick-fix, problems. That’s why this report focuses on service development rather than overnight successes, and I’m sure next year's report will show even more progress," said Ms King.

Copies of Implementing the New Zealand Health Strategy 2002 are available on the Ministry of Health website or by contacting the Ministry.

For more information, contact John Harvey (04) 471 9305 or Zoe Priestley (04) 470 6851 or Kim Purdy at the Ministry of Health (04) 496 2483 Questions and Answers

What is the New Zealand Health Strategy? The NZHS was published in 2000 and emphasises a health system based on co-operation, a system that puts people at the heart of health care.

The NZHS sets the platform for the Government's action on health. It highlights the priorities the Government considers to be most important. Those priorities reflect diseases such as diabetes and cancer as well as factors that influence health such as smoking and nutrition.

A NZHS is required under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. The Act also requires the Minister of Health to report annually on progress in implementing the NZHS, and the annual report must be presented to the House of Representatives and made publicly available.

The NZHS calls for the health sector to work co-operatively towards common goals rather than competing for the largest share of the health dollar. The combined goals must be improvement in the health of communities, reduced inequalities in health outcomes and the highest quality care for sick or disabled people, within the money available.

What are the 13 objectives chosen for implementation of the NZHS in the short to medium term? reduce smoking improve nutrition reduce obesity increase the level of physical activity reduce the rate of suicides and suicide attempts minimise harm caused by alcohol and illicit and other drug use to individuals and the community reduce the incidence and impact of cancer reduce the incidence and impact of cardiovascular disease reduce the incidence and impact of diabetes improve oral health reduce violence in interpersonal relationships, families, schools and communities improve the health status of people with severe mental illness ensure access to appropriate child health care services, including well child and family health care and immunisation

To assist DHBs to focus their efforts, the Minister of Health agreed to work on seven key service priorities over 18 months from 2001. These were chosen for their ability to impact on a wide range of priorities and objectives outlined in the strategy.

They are:

achieving Maori advancement in health through implementation of He Korowai Oranga (The Maori Health Strategy) the development of a comprehensive primary health care coverage and quality primary health care services through the implementation of the Primary Health Care Strategy implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy promoting an improvement, through reducing inequalities, in the health status of those currently disadvantaged reducing the impact and incidence of diabetes through the continuing implementation of the Diabetes Strategy reducing waiting times for public hospital elective services through the continued implementation of the Elective and Scheduled Services Policy improving the health status of people with severe mental illness through continued implementation of the mental health Blueprint

What was the first annual report on implementing the NZHS about? This report - tabled in Parliament in December 2001 - addressed each of the 13 population health objectives and the different priorities chosen to assist the implementation of the objectives. At the time of the first report's release, it was less than a year after the release of the NZHS. At that time, DHBs had only been in place a short while, and were concentrating on their establishment. As a consequence, the report focused mainly on the activities of the Ministry of Health in preparing advice for DHBs and other healthcare providers.

What is the second report about? The 2002 report contains more detail about how DHBs and other healthcare providers have developed ways to achieve the objectives and priorities of the NZHS. It also contains information on the seven key service priorities for achieving these objectives and priorities.

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