Ministerial Review Group Report released

  • Tony Ryall

Health Minister Tony Ryall has released the report of the Ministerial Review Group, set up to recommend how New Zealand might improve the quality and performance of the public health system.

"'Meeting the Challenge' is a comprehensive report, with 170 recommendations on how to reduce bureaucracy, improve frontline health services, and improve value in the public health and disability sector," Mr Ryall says.

"The Ministerial Review Group included some of the leading clinicians and managers in the health sector. Many of their recommendations have been well discussed in the sector already."

"The report recognises that to improve frontline services we need more input from frontline staff, and there are recommendations to strengthen clinical leadership and clinical networks."

The report proposes consolidating back office functions across the 21 District Health Boards (DHBs) to harness the power of bulk purchasing. It also proposes reducing the number of committees that advise the Ministry of Health from 157 to 54.

Mr Ryall says the recommendations require careful consideration.

"The Government is not interested in supporting any recommendations that increase bureaucracy or don't improve patient service."

"Government is under no obligation to accept the report's recommendations.

Cabinet will be considering the report over the next couple of months and feedback from the public and the health sector is welcomed. People can download the report from the Beehive website and send me their thoughts."

"We made a commitment before the election that DHBs would not be forcibly amalgamated because of the disruption it would cause frontline staff and services. The recommendations focus on reducing duplicated back-office bureaucracy, while ensuring minimal disruption in the wider health and disability sector."

"We want reduced health bureaucracy with greater focus on delivering more frontline services for patients."

"It is worth remembering that any saving in health will be reinvested in health - we are not cutting health spending. In fact DHBs have more money to spend this year than ever before on improving front line health services to patients."