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King welcomes independent evaluation of reforms

11 November 2003 Media Statement
Wednesday, 12 November

King welcomes independent evaluation of health reforms

Health Minister Annette King says she welcomes an independent evaluation of the health reforms the Government began introducing after it took office in 1999.

Ms King said this was the first time a government had subjected itself to such an evaluation even though there had been a major series of health reforms over the past two decades.

"I commissioned an independent evaluation to provide a dispassionate, rigorous and impartial view of the health and disability sector," Ms King said. "That's what's been delivered and we can now work from it to build on our strengths and work on our weaknesses."

The report, made public today by the Health Services Research Centre (HSRC), covers the first half of a three-year research project. “I am pleased the report gives what it describes as a ‘tentative thumbs up’ to our changes. When Parliament passed the NZ Public Health and Disability Sector Act 2000 I did not envisage that the perfect sector would spring up overnight," Ms King said.

"It takes time, information and willingness to keep improving the system, and I am determined that we achieve the best system we possibly can.”

Ms King said Victoria University’s HSRC, and the national team of researchers from Auckland, Otago and Massey Universities collaborating on the project, had been funded to do the independent evaluation by the Ministry of Health, Treasury, State Services Commission and the Health Research Council.

“The report will be a valuable tool. It is generally positive about the changes, such as the ability of district health boards to focus on local needs. I welcome that, of course, but I also welcome comments on areas in which we need to do better.

“When the Government introduced its health changes, I made a commitment to openness and transparency. This evaluation represents that commitment in action, and it also represents our commitment to strong public services.”

Ms King emphasized this report was an interim one. “I now look forward to the second half of the project, which will provide valuable feedback on the changes we will make as a result of this report."

The report is available on http://www.vuw.ac.nz/hsrc

ENDS

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