Address to present Quality Health NZ Certificate of Accreditation to the NZ Arthritis FoundationSenior Citizens
Thank you for inviting me here this evening. I am delighted to celebrate the Arthritis Foundation's head office accreditation by Quality Health New Zealand, under the new Standard for Health and Disability Services for Not for Profit Organisations.
The accreditation covers all the major areas of your work:
* corporate governance and strategic direction;
* management performance;
* member and consumer relationships;
* continuous quality improvement;
* human resources management;
* financial management;
* information management;
* education, and health promotion/disability advocacy.
It's an impressive package. I congratulate you for the three years of hard work that has gone into achieving accreditation, which of course was only possible because of the high quality and effectiveness of your services over a much longer period of time.
It is a double achievement, I understand. Not only are you the first not-for-profit health organisation in this country to formally meet these quality standards, but you are the first in the world.
I know that this is because other countries do not have comparable standards - which just goes to show that New Zealanders in the health and disability not-for-profit sector are international leaders in the pursuit of quality.
I also want to congratulate Quality Health New Zealand, who worked in partnership with the Foundation to develop new standards for not-for-profit organisations, once the gap was identified.
This is another example of Quality Health's commitment to its aim to promote, measure and recognise quality in the health sector - a key factor in improving health and disability services for all New Zealanders and restoring trust in those services.
I am confident that the Foundation's success will have a domino effect, both inside and outside the organisation. Continuous service improvement and regular reviews are built into the accreditation process. This will ensure that your head office will always be looking for better ways to do things, and keeping your focus firmly on providing the best service for consumers.
I know that the Foundation's 18 divisions already meet internal quality improvement standards and that ultimately you expect the whole organisation to meet Quality Health's standards as well.
You have also provided a model that other not-for-profit health and disability organisations can follow. Not only have you led by example but, by involving other organisations in a working party to develop the new standards, you have ensured buy-in from the sector as a whole.
While I am officially here in my former capacity as the Minister for Disability Issues, I am also interested in your work in my role as Minister for Senior Citizens.
The Arthritis Foundation has been very successful in advocating for its members and improving public awareness about arthritis and its impact on both individuals and the community.
I know that arthritis can affect all age groups and that you have worked hard to dispel the myth that it only affects older people. Nevertheless, our ageing population will result in more and more New Zealanders living with, or having relatives with, arthritis, and this is a concern to me as Minister for Senior Citizens.
A number of strategies at government level will complement your own efforts at the grass roots level, including the Positive Ageing, Health and Primary Health Care Strategies which have already been released, and the Maori Health and Older Persons Health Strategies which are still being developed.
Then, of course, there is the New Zealand Disability Strategy, which I launched at the end of April. This is the first time we have ever had a national vision and a coordinated government framework to begin addressing the barriers that prevent disabled people from participating fully in our communities.
The strategy's objectives cover things like education and employment opportunities; long-term support systems centred on the individual; quality living in the community; and lifestyle choices, recreation and culture.
There are also objectives to ensure the rights of disabled people, collect and use relevant information about disabled people, foster a responsive public service, and educate the wider public.
Eleven key government departments are developing annual action plans at the moment, with a roll-out to all government departments from next year. Implementation of the strategy is now back in the capable hands of my colleague, Ruth Dyson, and I am sure your relationship with her will be a very productive one, as it is with Health Minister Annette King.
Congratulations once again to both Quality Health and the Arthritis Foundation for developing the new health and disability service standards for not-for-profit organisations, in a spirit of partnership and professionalism – and to the Foundation for being the first organisation to achieve accreditation under them.
I hope that the success of your cooperative approach will be an inspiration to other providers and organisations in the future.
And now it is my pleasure to present this Quality Health certificate to the Arthritis Foundation head office.