The Government has announced nine locality network pilots aimed at improving delivery of healthcare services to New Zealand communities.
Health Minister, Andrew Little says the pilot scheme, set to roll out from July 1, will give New Zealanders “a real voice” in determining the health services provided in their community.
“Today we’re announcing nine locality network pilots to improve how healthcare is delivered in local communities,” Minister Little said.
“At this stage, we anticipate there will be between 60 and 80 localities once they are all up and running by July 2024.”
The first nine locality areas are:
- West Coast
- Eastern Bay of Plenty
“The new locality approach will be a collective of networks that will provide advice to Health New Zealand (HNZ) and the Māori Health Authority (MHA) on the health services needs identified by their communities,” the Minister said.
“Iwi and the local community will determine their own geographic area that will become the ‘locality’, so the area it serves makes sense to the people that live and work there.”
The area for each locality network will be determined by a range of criteria including, priority population groups, iwi boundaries and local government boundaries.
“The areas will be small enough to still feel local and everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand will fit into a locality that reflects their community.”
“Once Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority have worked with communities to identify their localities, a locality commissioner will be assigned to work with community and providers – to meet and talk about their priorities for local care.
“This targeted engagement will inform a locality plan that will influence local health care services.
“People will have a more direct voice to determine how health services are delivered because locality networks are required to consult, engage and capture the input of the communities they represent including iwi, local authorities and social sector agencies rather than relying on a small number of elected reps under the DHBs,” Mr Little said.
He said the first nine locality networks will have additional support so HNZ and MHA understand how to best refine and roll-out the localities approach over the next two years.
“People living in these nine areas will start to see changes over the next six months. Organisations responsible for providing care will start to work more closely together,” the Minister said.
The Minister visited Levin this morning to announce the first nine localities.
“The reason I am here in Levin Taitoko is because one of the first locality networks will be across Horowhenua,” he said.
“This locality network will cover 32,000 people. Within this community 27% are Māori, 7% are Pacific and 31% live in rural areas. 38% suffer from deprivation.
“The local DHB, MidCentral Health, has been a leader in locality planning, and that’s why this area is first out of the blocks. I’ve seen how around Levin practical locality processes have already been used for planning services.”