Summary— New Zealand Health Strategy 2023

Purpose

The New Zealand Health Strategy sets the direction for improving the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders over the next 10 years.

It is part of a suite of strategies published under the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 and is the main strategy addressing the health of our population as a whole. Strategy development was led by Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health).

The New Zealand Health Strategy, in partnership with Pae Tū: Hauora Māori Strategy which provides a framework to guide health entities (organisations) in upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi | the Treaty of Waitangi, set the overarching long-term direction for health.

The four population strategies (for Pacific health, health of disabled people, women’s health and rural health) set a more focused direction for specific populations. Each strategy is founded on a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Each strategy builds on and reflects the higher-level priorities set in the New Zealand Health Strategy and Pae Tū, but from their unique perspectives. Together, the suite of health strategies guide collective efforts to achieve pae ora (healthy futures).

Vision

Our long-term vision is to achieve pae ora (healthy futures) for all New Zealanders. This is a future in which all people from all communities are able to live long, healthy lives.

Achieving pae ora (healthy futures) means looking at the many factors that influence people’s health, including the role of publicly funded health services. This includes a focus on:

  • improving people’s own health and wellbeing.
  • supporting strong and empowered family networks and recognising the impact of family on health and wellbeing.
  • the impact of our communities and the places where we live, work and rest on our health and wellbeing.

Achieving our vision will require us to address two major long-term goals:

  • to achieve health equity for our diverse communities, and especially for Māori, Pacific, disabled and other groups who have poorer outcomes.
  • to improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Background

The New Zealand Health Strategy has four parts

  • Part 1 describes a long-term vision for health and identifies the key challenges and opportunities.
  • Part 2 provides an assessment of the current state of the health of our population and the health system itself, drawing on engagement carried out to develop this strategy.
  • Part 3 identifies the priority areas in which changes are needed to achieve our vision and indicates the types of change required over the next 10 years.
  • Part 4 describes the next steps for how these changes can be delivered, including how the strategic direction will be translated into actions for health entities.

What people have told us

  • The voice of people, whānau and communities is key to changing the system
  • We need responses that focus on health and wellbeing
  • New workforce and service models need to be prioritised
  • Changing mindsets is crucial to changing outcomes
  • Barriers to services need to be tackled, especially for priority groups

Priority areas

There are six priority areas.

Priority 1: Voice at the heart of the system.

People, whānau and communities have greater control and influence over decisions about their health and the design of their health services. This looks like more locally led approaches that strengthen co-design and partnering with people will help us move towards preventive approaches to improve health outcomes for people today, as well as for future generations.

There are two 10-year ambitions:

  • People, whānau and communities will have greater control and influence over their health and the services they need
  • People have the best possible experience of health services and the health system

Priority 2: Flexible, appropriate care.

Developing services that adapt to people’s health needs and expectations, are focused on preventing ill health, are delivered closer to our homes and communities and support access for all. This includes a focus on the early years of life, tackling barriers to access and developing flexible, more responsive primary and community health services.

There are four 10-year ambitions:

  • The health system will make a significant shift in investment towards services that reduce, delay and prevent ill health and prioritise the early years of life
  • Health services will be flexible to people’s range of needs and their cultural expectations
  • People are able to access the care they need, when they need it
  • The health system will value physical and mental health equally.

Priority 3: Valuing our workforce.

Recognising our health workforce as our most valuable asset and supporting the development of a sustainable, diverse, skilled and confident health workforce for the future. This includes a focus on recognising and developing skills and capabilities to meet population health, valuing and respecting the health workforce, and creating a coherent plan to attract, train, utilise and retain people with the right values, skills and capabilities.

There are three 10-year ambitions:

  • The workforce will reflect our diverse communities and have the skills and capabilities required to meet their needs.
  • The workforce will feel valued, recognised and respected and will be supported and motivated to deliver high-quality care.
  • Flexible learning and working environments will give more room for growth and development.

Priority 4: A learning culture.

Creating a culture of continuous learning and quality improvement, supported by research, evaluation and innovation.

There are three 10-year ambitions:

  • The health system will develop standards for high-quality care that support all services to improve
  • New initiatives will help all parts of the system to harness innovation and new technologies and put evidence and research into everyday practice
  • New national functions will drive continuous improvement and support the development and implementation of new technologies

Priority 5: A resilient and sustainable system.

Ensuring our health system is prepared for the future and that we make the best use of resources to manage demand and affordability over the long term. This includes a focus on supporting resilience, improving productivity and efficiency, ensuring long-term affordability and supporting an ageing population.

There are two 10-year ambitions:

  • The health system will be better prepared to manage future adverse events
  • The health system will be more productive and efficient, to make the best use of public money

Priority 6: Partnerships for health and wellbeing.

Building cross-sector and cross government relationships to drive collaborative actions on health and wellbeing. This includes a focus on working across government, working with communities, and working across sectors.

There are two 10-year ambitions:

  • The health system will lead and influence across government to improve health and wellbeing outcomes
  • Health entities will partner with other sectors to support shared approaches to improving health and wellbeing.

The full version of the strategy can be found here: New Zealand Health Strategy | Ministry of Health NZ (www.health.govt.nz/publication/new-zealand-health-strategy)

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