Stephen McKernan takes key role in health reforms

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

Former Director General of Health Stephen McKernan has been appointed to a key leadership role in the Government’s response to the Health and Disability System Review, Minister of Health Chris Hipkins says.

“The Government has committed to a long-term programme of reform to build stronger public health and disability services that deliver for all,” Chris Hipkins said.

“While our ongoing effort to protect our people and economy from the COVID-19 pandemic has taken priority, we have been progressing work on our response to the review since the final report in June.

“I’m pleased that Stephen McKernan has now agreed to lead the Transition Unit.

“Administered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the unit will carry out the detailed policy and design work for the changes we believe are necessary to improve our health and disability services and ensure they are sustainable for years to come.

“The unit is to be comprised of experts from our health services, the Ministry of Health, and other government agencies. It will report to a group of ministers led by the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Health and Finance.

“Stephen McKernan’s deep and wide knowledge and experience of health and disability systems and services in New Zealand and internationally means he is well qualified to lead this crucial work,” Chris Hipkins said.

Note: Stephen McKernan has over 30 years’ experience working at the highest levels of health systems. He is the former New Zealand Director-General of Health, a role which he held for four years, and was Chief Executive of Counties Manukau and Hutt Valley District Health Boards.

He has been awarded the Companion of the Queen Service Order (QSO) for the significant contributions he has made to the New Zealand health system.
Since 2010 he has consulted internationally to a range of Governments and health organisations. He has expertise in health system and social care design and performance improvement, the successful management of change, and development and leadership of large and complex organisations.

He currently heads EY’s Government and Public Sector practice.