Steering Group Established To Review Health Agencies

  • Neil Kirton
Associate Minister of Health

A steering group has been set up to report on the roles and relationships of agencies in the health sector, Health Minister Bill English and Associate Health Minister Neil Kirton announced today.

The group would report back to the Ministers by May, they said.

"A review of the ways agencies in the health sector worked together was announced in the Coalition Agreement. This will include looking at the most appropriate structure for the single funding agency which will replace the four regional health authorities.

"The Steering Group's members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds within the sector," said the Ministers.

The Group will be chaired by the Director-General of Health, Karen Poutasi and will be directly responsible to the Ministers. It is being appointed as a Ministerial Committee under Section 46 of the Health and Disability Services Act 1993.

Mr English said an announcement would be made next week about the transition arrangements governing the regional health authorities move to a single funding agency.


Dr Karen Poutasi (Chair)

Dr Karen Poutasi is the Director-General of Health. She has worked in health care management for the last 12 years and was previously a specialist in community medicine. She is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and as well as medical qualifications also holds an MBA and a Harvard degree in Health Service Administration.

Bridget Allan

Bridget Allan is the Chief Executive of the Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust. She previously held research positions in the Department of Health and management positions in the Northland Area Health Board.

Gordon Davies

Gordon Davies is the General Manager, Southern Region, of the IHC. He is also the Chair of the Health Information Council and has previously held a range of senior management positions in the health and disability sector, including in Canterbury Area Health Board and the Department of Health.

Dr Peter Didsbury

Dr Peter Didsbury is a General Practitioner in Manurewa. He is a member of the Executive of the General Practitioners Association and is a Director of ProCare Health, an Independent Practitioners Association (IPA).

Professor Mason Durie

Mason Durie is Professor of Maori Studies at Massey University. He is medically qualified, has previously practised as a psychiatrist, and is a recognised authority on Maori health. He is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability Services.

Graeme Edmond

Graeme Edmond is the Chief Executive of Auckland Healthcare. He was previously the Chief Executive of the Midland RHA.

Dr Rosemary Fenwicke

Dr Rosemary Fenwicke is a part-time General Practitioner in Flaxmere and part-time Medical Officer with Healthcare Hawkes Bay community services. She has been involved in Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care and the Hawkes Bay IPA.

Bette Kill

Bette Kill is the General Manager, Mental Health, for the Northern RHA. She holds a Masters in Public Health and has previously held management positions in the Department of Health and the ACC.

Wayne McLean

Wayne McLean is the Chief Executive of the Raukura Haura O Tainui Trust. He has held management positions in the health sector including the Waikato Area Health Board. He is an accountant and is also a member of the National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability Services.

Dr Mark Matthews

Dr Mark Matthews is a medical doctor and also holds an MBA. He is a management consultant with extensive consulting experience in New Zealand and the US. He is the governing director of several companies, including one concerned with medical software with a focus on health delivery integration.

Dr Graham Scott

Dr Graham Scott is presently chairman of the Central Regional Health Authority. He was the Secretary of the Treasury until 1993 and now operates his own private consulting business.

Dr Branko Sijnja

Dr Branko Sijnja is a General Practitioner in Balclutha. He is the Deputy Chair of the General Practitioners' Association.

Christine Tuffnell

Christine Tuffnell is a Director of the Central Regional Health Authority. She has a nursing and health service management background and works as a consultant on quality management in the health and disability sector and other sectors.


The Steering Group will report to Ministers on the policy requirements and implementation of the health and disability sector changes in sections 2 (on changes to public providers) and 3 (on funding arrangements) of the Coalition Agreement for Health, including:

the roles, relationships and accountability arrangements for the health and disability sector agencies including the funder agency, publicly owned providers, ACC purchasing, and the Ministry of Health
the future contracting arrangements between Funder and providers
timetable for implementation
the legislation required to implement the changes
the risk management strategies to be adopted in implementing the changes
communication and consultation strategies
fiscal implications of the changes.
This advise will need to be preceded by a work programme detailing the policy areas being covered by the Steering Group (with specific milestones) and the method of consultation and discussion to be adopted in reaching firm recommendations. This work programme is to be constructed so that final advice from the Steering Group is provided by 16 May 1997.

The Director-General of Health will be chairing the Steering Group and directly responsible and accountable to Ministers for the overall management of the reporting and associated consultation required for implementation of the governments direction for the health and disability sector. The Director-General will be responsible for ensuring that consultation occurs at a senior level with other central agencies.

The Steering Group will direct a working group, which will comprise a small core group of analysts seconded from different Government agencies (with a capacity to second additional expertise and commission work as required) and will be responsible to the Steering Group in exercising its functions. The convenor of the working group will act as the secretariat to the Steering Group. Both the Steering Group and working group will be serviced by the Ministry of Health.

The Steering Group in undertaking its responsibilities will observe the Governments statement that the health sector will be consulted on changes to current arrangements in administration and legislation, governance and reporting. The objective is to have an inclusive process that engages the sector with a view to maximising the ownership of the result. The Steering Group will observe the following non-negotiable principles as laid out in the Coalition Agreement:

Retaining the separation between the structure that replaces RHAs as funder and all health service providers including CHEs/Regional Hospital and Community Services, IPAs, GPs, Disability Services, Rest homes, etc.

Limiting bureaucracy where possible

Removing the for profit focus from the CHEs but require them to work in a businesslike fashion.

Giving greater emphasis to health gain

RHAs purchasing from providers on a competitive price volume basis will be replaced with contractual funding agreements between the structure replacing RHAs and all providers based on historic funding information and levels, benchmarking information, changes in technology and comparative data to provide a cost effective health system that delivers the maximum amount of health care to patients for the taxpayer funds available.

The structure replacing RHAs will undertake monitoring, auditing and reporting functions to enhance health gain and financial accountability.