Putting the right connections in place to support our health strategy is a priority. Over the last year I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people from across the health sector, as well as those who use the system. One subject that’s come up consistently in these conversations is the need for us to work as ONE TEAM; the Ministry, District Health Boards, Primary care organisations and the many other stakeholders and communities that contribute to the success of our health system. We need to keep reminding ourselves of the importance of acting as ONE TEAM.
Strengthening the Ministry
Another crucial piece of work to support our health strategy has been looking at ourselves and identifying what we at the Ministry need to change, what we need to do differently. I’ve been putting a lot of time into getting the Ministry’s new Executive Leadership Team together. I’m delighted to tell you that the team is now largely in place and a number of new faces have joined us. We’ve also started by looking at two key business units, Strategy and Policy and Service Commissioning. The reason for prioritising these functions is that they need to work closely and effectively across the Ministry, the public service and with the wider health sector. Working better together must start with us.
DHB annual and regional plans alignment to the New Zealand Health Strategy
I’d also like to highlight the work happening across District Health Boards in support of the health strategy. Their annual and regional plans for 2016/17 all link to the strategy and its key themes. The annual planning process is not a small undertaking so it’s a significant step. In addition, the 2017/18 annual and regional plans will further strengthen and support the New Zealand Health Strategy themes and actions.
Health of Older People Strategy
I’d like to thank the many people who have contributed their ideas and opinions to the refreshed New Zealand Health of Older People Strategy. We received input from everyone from individuals to families and whānau, carers, health professionals, service providers, government and non-governmental organisations. The strategy will be better for their insight. It’s still in draft form at the moment and will shortly be put out for consultation. I encourage you all to have your say, especially on the alignment with the New Zealand Health Strategy themes and actions.
As an organisation, and a sector we have much work ahead, to deliver a lot of new initiatives and business-as-usual activity. The future will also involve us changing how we do a lot of things. To have a health system that works for every New Zealander and is sustainable, we know we can’t keep doing what we’ve always done. The Ministry has a strategic system and policy leadership role in these changes. I don’t see us as having all the answers or being best placed to understand the potential impact on healthcare delivery. So my commitment to you is that I will keep talking to, and working better with colleagues, communities and consumers of healthcare across New Zealand. Together we can make a difference.
In closing, work is under way for the annual New Zealand Health Strategy Symposium, scheduled for some time in late November. There are a number of other important health sector conferences such as the Fourth World Congress on Integrated Care, in Wellington on 23-25 November. So we will make sure there are no date clashes.
Kia pai to rā
Director-General of Health