Sunday, April 14, 2024

Health strategy includes firsts for Pacific peoples, women and rural communities

The Government has released its long-term vision for health, the Pae Ora | Healthy Futures Strategies which sets the direction for the nation’s health sector over the next decade.

Minister of Health, Ayesha Verrall (pictured) says it’s the first time Pacific peoples, women and rural communities have had their own health strategies.

“Achieving the Pae Ora vision of these strategies is about more than what health services can do.  It also recognises that we need to support and empower people to take control of their own health, and address the wider factors which drive good health and wellbeing,” said Dr Verrall.

“It’s vital we prioritise the prevention, reduction and delaying of ill health wherever possible. This means shifting focus and resource towards preventive healthcare, not just spending more on the same services to fix the same problems.” 

The New Zealand Health Strategy addresses the health of all New Zealanders and sits alongside five population-specific strategies (click links to read):

Today’s publication follows extensive engagement by Manatū Hauora – the Ministry of Health, Te Aka Whai Ora and Ministry for Ethnic Communities through face-to-face meetings, wānanga, fono, focus groups, online discussions, written submissions and in-depth workshops, the Minister said.

“During the process, we heard stories of people who didn’t get the help they needed because of gender, orientation or ethnicity,” she said.

“We heard that we need to end the ‘one size fits all’ approach to health services, regardless of what people actually need. 

“The old health system had become too remote and detached. The Pae Ora Strategies and our wider health reforms are designed to tackle this and support greater community-driven participation over health service delivery.”

Minister Verrall said the strategies will address change and underlying barriers which may have held back progress by:

  • Giving people, whānau and communities greater control over decisions about their health and the design of services;
  • Developing services which adapt to people’s health needs and are delivered closer to their homes and communities;
  • Developing a sustainable, diverse, skilled and confident future workforce;
  • Creating a culture of continuous learning and improvement;
  • Making sure we’re prepared for any future shocks that come our way and making the very best of our resources;
  • Collaborating across sector and government to drive the right outcomes.

“This is an ambitious vision. It requires new partnerships and a shared commitment to long-term action.”

“Change of this scale will take time, however health isn’t just a short-term outcome. These strategies provide the direction for lasting change,” said Dr Verrall.

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