Comprehensive boost to health system for winter

  • 24 initiatives to help reduce hospital demand
  • ‘Hospital in the home’ services
  • Increased access to community radiology
  • Community rapid response tools to protect the vulnerable
  • Free access to pharmacy consultations and paracetamol for tamariki and CSC holders

New Zealand has a comprehensive plan in place to ease winter pressure on the health system, Minister of Health Dr Hon Ayesha Verrall announced today.

The 2023 Winter Plan, led by Te Whatu Ora, includes 24 initiatives to help support community care and reduce hospital demand.

These include support for pharmacies to treat minor ailments, hospital in the home services, increased access to radiology service in the community and community rapid response tools to lessen hospital admissions for our most vulnerable people.

“It’s important people feel confident they can get the health care they need this winter and I’m fully supporting the plan to deliver that,” Ayesha Verrall said.

“This winter, a reformed health system is allowing us to identify successful local programmes and scale them across the country, tailoring any health care approach to meet unique needs.

“Coordinated at a national level, the health system is better prepared to respond locally, and connect its people to share knowledge and deliver services this winter.

“Resources will be shared across health facilities within a region, with providers working together.

“These initiatives being driven by Te Whatu Ora reinforce care at the right time, at the right place. They will deliver health services to people closer to where they live, ultimately alleviating additional pressure on our hospitals.

“I also encourage everyone to take practical steps such as ensuring your vaccinations are up to date to reduce the change of getting seriously unwell. 

“Getting your COVID-19 booster and flu jabs are a first line of defence this winter - as well as making sure your tamariki have all the immunisations they need to protect them too,” Ayesha Verrall said.