The way New Zealand's health system is structured and health services are delivered is changing.
On July 1st, 2022, New Zealand moved to a new national health system. At first it will look and feel the same, but having a national system means changes can be made over time to achieve better health and better health outcomes for all New Zealanders.
Why is the health system being reformed?
The public health and disability system has significant and ongoing issues in delivering equity and consistency for everyone. Demand for health services keep growing, due to an ageing population, advances in care and many more people having chronic (long-term) health conditions.
The health system changes are being made to meet these future challenges and to make sure all New Zealanders get the health services they need.
The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act established 4 new entities. Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand has national teams working to coordinate healthcare across the country, working in partnership with Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority. There is also a new Public Health Agency to strengthen population and public health and all 3 are working with Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.
What is the aim of the new health system?
The new health system has been designed to enable a whole-of-country view to planning and delivering services, helping it to be efficient and consistent everywhere. A healthcare system that is nationally planned, regionally delivered and locally tailored will address things like surgical waiting lists. It also means that when it comes to health services, where you live will matter less than what you need.
All of the health reform changes are designed to reduce the pressure on specialist and hospital care.
What will the new health system look like?
There are 5 key areas where the change will make the biggest difference.
- The health system will ensure that Māori have a greater role in designing health services that better meet the needs of Māori. Māori communities will also play an important role in making sure our health services work for Māori, and the many New Zealanders accessing kaupapa Māori health services. A health system that does better for Māori, does better for all.
- People will be able to get the healthcare they need closer to home. Health services will better reflect community needs and preferences.
- High quality emergency or specialist care will be available when people need it. Networks of doctors and other medical professionals will work together with community services to educate and keep people well.
- Digital technology will be used in more and better ways, to provide people with services in their homes, hapori and local communities. Technology will also help healthcare workers to better understand and support their patients.
- Planning will be done for future health workforce requirements, and to provide for the training and development needs of New Zealand’s contemporary workforce of tomorrow, so our healthcare workers will always have the skills they need.
How will the changes affect me?
As Health NZ establishes its new role and functions, the aim is that this will lead to more innovative services which better reflect the needs and priorities of the community. Hospital and specialist services will be more consistent which means more equitable access across New Zealand.
Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand
Our health and disability system Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, NZ
Frequently asked questions Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, NZ
Resources in English and te reo Māori about different aspects of the health system changes Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, NZ
Health NZ / Hauora Aotearoa Future of Health, NZ
Health reform documents in English and te reo Māori
- Future of Health – the Five System Shifts (English, Te Reo Māori) Future of Health, NZ, 2022
- Who we're working with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, 2022