Ministry health

Health reforms on track, health ministry says

Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming told board members this month that he had received few details about how the transition to a new health care system would take place.

John Hawkins / Stuff

Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming told board members this month that he had received few details about how the transition to a new health care system would take place.

The Department of Health has extended contracts for district health boards, but remains on track to launch Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority on July 1.

New Zealand’s 20 district health boards are to be abolished and replaced by centralized health authorities from July.

A Department of Health spokesperson said Health New Zealand would take over management of the contracts once it was established.

“The Department of Health holds over 4,000 contracts for services in DHBs and PHOs. In some cases, these will have been extended, in line with normal contract management processes,” the spokesperson said; adding that the approach would ensure continuity of services.

READ MORE:
* Hauraki health leader appointed chief executive of new Maori health authority
* MidCentral kidney specialist relishes chance to lead healthcare reforms
* Health New Zealand and Māori Health Authority Board Members Announcement

Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority are expected to be fully operational by September.

Earlier in March, Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming told his board “there are very few details left in terms of transition planning.”

A legal integration would be the easiest part of the reforms, while business should be aligned with Health New Zealand’s operating structure and reporting lines should be aligned with Health New Zealand’s operating model, he said. .

“The reality is however clear that at the very least things are likely to go on as usual while systems, processes and structures are established.”

It would be important for the DHB board and management team to maintain stability and focus on key priorities, Fleming said.

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill – intended to provide the framework for the new national healthcare system – is expected to pass in April.