Currently, New Zealand’s government-run healthcare system is broken up into 20 district health boards, each with their own budget. But, over the course of the past year or so, as a result of the Covid pandemic, the system had been forced into ‘a rare and welcomed collaboration’, said Health Minister Andrew Little.
As such, New Zealand is now to implement a single, centralised healthcare system, called Health New Zealand. “Our system has become overly complex. It is far too complicated for a small nation,” said Little. “We simply do not need 20 different sets of decision-makers.”
The overhaul also includes a new Indigenous Maori Health Authority. And Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare said the new Maori Health Authority would allow more control for Maori, who suffer worse health on average than other New Zealanders.
Some oppose the new system
Not all are in favour of the new system, however. According to reports, health spokesman Dr Shane Reti said the restructure was ‘reckless’ and would see regions and small communities lose their voices. “Health New Zealand will likely end up as just another bureaucracy that governments will have to fund, instead of investing the money where it’s needed most,” said Reti.
But Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall insisted that the new public health agency would mean experts would be better placed to fight future pandemics and could focus more strategically on problems like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Elsewhere, over in Singapore, the island state is establishing a health insurance committee to address issues around accessibility, transparency and claims processing in health insurance.