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Since the beginning of 2019 the Health and Disability System Review expert panel and I have met jointly or individually with over 500 health and disability stakeholders. This engagement includes meetings, forums, conferences and workshops.

I have only very recently returned from a short but insightful international study tour having the opportunity to see health system developments in England, Scotland and Norway. This trip focused on health system innovations that we can potentially learn from for a specifically Aotearoa New Zealand context particularly relating to digital health initiatives and attempts to better integrate healthcare system. However, we recognise our work is only in its early stages and there is plenty to do before our interim report is due to the Minister in August.

Our panel members have also been busy around the country.

In early April, Dr Winfield Bennett attended the National Rural Health Conference in Blenheim hearing from experts engaged with rural health. The sustainability of the workforce was of major concern to many participants, with international guests noting the positive effect that training health professionals in rural areas can have on rural recruitment and retention. Ensuring viable rural health services will be an important consideration for the Review.

Dr. Lloyd McCann also presented on behalf of the System Review to the NZ Private Surgical Hospitals Association seminar and heard about the range of different elective demand and supply models across the country and opportunities that could be fostered. Particularly relevant was the critical role of workforce to enable new models of care and service delivery.

In March we conducted a series of four regional workshops looking at the key issues which need to shape the future of primary and community services. This is a fundamental aspect of the Review and we had very good constructive engagement from a wide range of participants throughout the country.

In forthcoming updates I will be discussing other work that we are currently undertaking including our digital and technology stream, and wānanga being organised by the Māori expert advisory group.

We continue to maintain a busy schedule in order to hear from as many people as possible and welcome online submissions (closing 31 May). We value your time and commitment in helping us shape our future health and disability system.

Find out how to contribute to the review.

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