The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) welcomes the government health system reforms announced on 21 April, and see these as a blueprint for strengthening the health and disability system for all New Zealanders.
Guild Chief Executive, Andrew Gaudin, says the reforms address concerns around access, equity, service levels, sustainability and workforce, and the Guild supports the newly announced entities which will deliver on these changes.
“The consolidation of the 20 DHBs into a national organisation – Health New Zealand – will enable improved oversight of service contracting and commissioning decisions.
“Coupled with the new Māori Health Authority, the Public Health Agency, and a refocussed Ministry of Health providing system monitoring and advice, these new entities will ensure greater equity, and support enhanced integration of primary and community care.”
The Guild sees that over time, these new entities will support an expanded range of community pharmacy services nationally, and increased investment in primary and community care to keep New Zealanders well and out of hospital.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to bold structural change and to moving swiftly to deliver on a newly defined vision ‘to build a system which achieves pae ora: healthy futures for all New Zealanders,’” Mr Gaudin says.
The Guild notes this first step to establish these entities is due for completion by July 2022.
Beyond these imminent structural changes, further enabling system changes must be made in areas such as funding, workforce and digital health. “Both the wider changes and imminent structural reforms will enable meaningful change to care and to improving health and wellbeing outcomes,” Mr Gaudin says.
“The Guild will work closely with the government, the Health and Disability System Transition Unit, and these new entities in the coming months and years, on how the direction of travel for reforms outlined this week will work well in practice, including with our community pharmacy members on the front line.”