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National Health Committee Praised

18 April 2002

National Health Committee praised for its independence and influence

The National Health Committee (NHC) marked 10 years of independent commentary and advice on New Zealand's publicly funded health system at a Beehive function hosted by the Minister of Health, Annette King, on Tuesday evening.

Annette King, Ruth Dyson, Minister for Disability Issues, Steve Chadwick MP for Rotorua and a member of the Health Select Committee and Wyatt Creech, a former National Minister of Health, all praised the Committee for its independent advice to six successive Ministers of Health since 1992. As well, the Committee was congratulated on the significant influence its work has had on health policy and practice during the last 10 years.

Annette King said the Committee's independence has enabled it to enlist the positive and progressive co-operation of members of the public and professions alike. This, coupled with the evidence-based approach the Committee has taken to its work, provides her with advice she finds consistently informative and very valuable.

Highlights of the Committee's prolific track record of advice that received special mention were:
its work on priority-setting in the early 1990s, which led to booking systems for elective procedures and the introduction and continued use of evidence-based guidelines as a rational and explicit basis for funding services and ? critically ? a basis where available evidence underpins decisions about resource allocation
its benchmark 1998 report The Social, Cultural and Economic Determinants of Health in New Zealand: Action to Improve Health, acknowledged as the basis for significant areas of current government policy
its advice over several years on the health care of older people which called for coherent policy and service delivery in an area that absorbs over a third of Vote: Health, which led to the establishment of a section in the Ministry of Health dedicated to the health care of older people with responsibility for the development of a national strategy for the health care of older people;
its advice in 2000 on reducing inequalities in health by preferentially investing in primary health care, with the intention of moving to fully-funded care within a five year timeframe. Earlier this year the Minister of Health announced a significant funding package for the next three years to take the health system closer to the objective of fully-funded primary health care.

The Committee's prolific work record continues. Over the next few months it will be publishing its advice on: how to improve quality in New Zealand's health care system; Maori health, specifically, the links between policy and practice in relation to reducing inequalities in Maori health; services in the community for adults with intellectual disability who need some help with daily living; and how to improve the processes for assessing the effectiveness of new health and disability technologies.

NHC Chairman, Robert Logan, says the Committee looks forward to continuing to provide an independent and balanced view of the publicly funded health and disability support system and public health in New Zealand.

For more information contact:

Robert Logan, Chairman, tel wk 04 566 6999 hm 04 385 1221 Ashley Bloomfield, Manager, tel wk 04 496 2073 mob 025 437 585 hm 04 562 0107

Additional information:

The National Health Committee is an independent statutory committee. It is appointed by and reports directly to the Minister of Health.

The Committee was established in March 1992 as the National Advisory Committee on Core Health Services. In August 1992, the Committee's brief was expanded to include disability support services (following the transfer of responsibility for disability support services from Vote: Social Welfare to Vote: Health). The Committee was renamed the National Advisory Committee on Core Health and Disability Support Services and became known as the Core Services Committee. In January 1996 the Committee's role was expanded again to include public health services and matters (following the disbanding of the Public Health Commission). The Committee was renamed the National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability and is known as the National Health Committee (NHC). The Committee Secretariat is accommodated within the Ministry of Health.

In early 2001, the National Health Committee was re-established under Section 10 of the Public Health and Disability Act 2000 and charged with establishing a committee called the Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC).

Committee membership is broad-based ? members bring extensive sector networks and other linkages and perspectives to Committee deliberations. The Committee meets monthly to discuss issues arising from its terms of reference and review progress of the work programme against timetable and reporting requirements.

Committee Chairs 1992-2002

Sharon Crosbie, Lynette Jones, Gae Griffiths (Acting), Mason Durie, Robert Logan.

Committee Members 1992-2002

Jane Chetwynd, Paul Curry, Peter Gluckman, Joan Roberts, Peter Skegg, Alan Clarke, Margaret Horsburgh, John Campbell, Alistair Woodward, Anne Bray, Wayne McLean, Maggie Barry, Colin Tukuitonga, Bruce Gollop, Lyall Thurston, Debbie Chin, Althea Page-Carruth, Teuila Percival, Ray Watson, Lynette Stewart, Cindy Kiro, Kevin Hague, Andrew Moore, Geoff Fougere, Lorna Sullivan, Gwen Tepania-Palmer. (bold text indicates current membership)

PHAC Members (established 2001) Alistair Woodward, Cindy Kiro, Kevin Hague, Lynette Stewart, Robert Logan.

Further information on the National Health Committee and its published advice is available on the Committee's website: www.nhc.govt.nz

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