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Minister launches New Zealand Health Strategy

Minister launches New Zealand Health Strategy
Monday, 11 December.

Health Minister Annette King says the New Zealand Health Strategy, launched today in the Grand Hall at Parliament, will ensure New Zealand uses its available health resources more effectively in the future.

"The launch of the Strategy is, in fact, the most important day in health since the Labour-Alliance Government came in to office, " she said. " The Strategy provides the framework for what we want to achieve in health, and will provide the short to medium term focus for the new District Health Boards and the Ministry of Health."

Mrs King said the NZHS highlighted 13 population health objectives chosen on the basis of the degree to which they could improve the health status of the population and reduce health inequalities between different population groups.

"Some of these objectives, like reducing smoking and reducing obesity, address broad determinants of health. If we can increase levels of physical activity, for example, we can improve the health of New Zealanders. Other objectives are more specific, aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of specific diseases, like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes."

Mrs King said DHBs would be provided with toolkits to help them address the 13 population health objectives. The toolkits would incorporate best practice and contain indicators for measuring performance.

"The Strategy also specifically discusses quality issues," Mrs King said. "While health services in New Zealand are generally safe and of good quality, in the past few years there have been many incidents arousing public concern. If we are to restore a public health system in which people can have confidence and trust, we must commit to a culture of continual quality improvement.

"We must also work across sectors, including health, education, housing and social welfare, in terms of health promotion and disease and injury prevention, if New Zealand is to become a healthier country."

The draft NZHS document was released in Porirua on June 1. More than 600 written and oral submissions were received in response to the document.

ENDS

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