During the past few weeks I have been speaking again about the importance of the health workforce to this Review and the need to engage with both workers and unions. This is particularly important in light of the shift to developing patient and whānau centric care, and changing workforce expectations of career progression and work-life balance. My wider conversation with the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists can be found in Issue 118 of The Specialist (PDF, 3.7 MB)(external link).
Peter Crampton with members of the secretariat has been meeting with public health colleagues from around the country. Discussions have included challenges and opportunities with central leadership of public health, critical mass of expertise, configuration of regional services, and the pros and cons of stand-alone central public health agencies. These matters, along with many others, will be considered carefully by the Review. Our Māori expert advisory group led by Sharon Shea is busy organising a series of wānanga for May-June in Kaikohe, Rotorua, Dunedin, and Wellington. Māori health equity issues and aspirations are of critical importance to this Review and the wānanga will be a good opportunity to better understand both the issues and the possible solutions.
The Digital and IS review team have also been engaging with a range of people and organisations to gauge the current landscape of digital health and IS, the barriers and enablers to progressing digital technologies, the role of sector leadership, and complexities of data sovereignty. Both in workshops, individual meetings, and submissions there has been a strong call for robust, coordinated use of health data both within and across systems. The team has gained a variety of perspectives from engaging with both national and international digital health leaders, IT experts, innovation hubs and public health experts.
I have also recently returned from a study trip to the UK and Norway where we were able to observe first hand some of the significant changes the NHS is trying to implement. While we gained many insights which will be useful for us to learn from, the trip also served to remind us again how well our health system performs on many fronts. We fortunately have a very strong base to build from as we look forward to how the system will need to change to better serve all groups of New Zealanders in the future.
A reminder that submissions prior to the release of the interim report close on 31 May. Further opportunities to comment on the interim report will be available later in the year subject to Ministerial release.