Ministerial Advisory Group for health

The Minister of Health, David Clark, has announced “the urgent establishment of a new Ministerial Advisory Group on the Health System”.

Advisory groups, working groups, committees and commissioned reports are all things that are used in Government to kick the can down the road, to bury a promise, to deliberately delay.

For example the Tax Working Group seems to be a device to get advice that the Government wants to hear. After nine years in Opposition one could wonder why Labour hadn’t already done all the research needed to inform adequately on reforming our tax system.

But I think the health Advisory Group may be justified. Clark is not very experienced in Health, and it is one of the most demanding portfolios, with one of the biggest responsibilities. Life and death is at stake, costs are escalating, as is the age of the population, so it is difficult to get the right levels of care to balance on a budget.

New Ministerial Advisory Group established for Health

Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced the urgent establishment of a new Ministerial Advisory Group on the Health System.

“Since becoming the Minister of Health, it has become increasingly clear to me that all is not well within our public health system. Nine years of under-resourcing and neglect have taken their toll.

“New Zealanders deserve better and the Labour-led Government will not sit back while the public is short-changed by a health system operating under such stress. We have a significant health agenda to roll out, including in primary care, mental health and disability services.

“We’re committed to investing an extra $8 billion in health, and it is vital to have a health system in its best shape possible to ensure all New Zealanders can access quality health and disability services.

“The Ministerial Advisory Group will help ensure that investment makes a positive difference to people’s lives. It will provide fresh perspective and independent advice about how we can improve our health system and deliver better services to New Zealanders.”

Dr Clark has appointed Sir Brian Roche as chair of the group. Professor David Tipene-Leach, Muriel Tūnoho, Dr Karen Poutasi and Dr Lester Levy have also been appointed members for a term of two years. They will report directly to the Minister of Health.

“These five individuals are extremely experienced and highly regarded in the health and disability sector.

“I’ve asked them to advise me on lifting the Ministry’s performance and leadership, strengthening relationships across the sector, and helping to deliver the Government’s strategic direction for health. This work is critical to improving the quality of our health services.

“There are good people nationwide working hard to improve people’s health. Both they and the public deserve the highest standards of leadership and performance,” says Dr Clark.

Background Information:

The Ministerial Advisory Group on the Health System is a Ministerial Committee established under section 11 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2001.

Chair Sir Brian Roche has extensive governance and management experience, a former Chief Executive of PWC NZ, oversaw a significant transformation of the New Zealand Post Group as Chief Executive and is an experienced chair of numerous entities, both Crown and private.

Professor David Tipene-Leach is a Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research at the Eastern Institute of Technology. He has a distinguished medical practice and academic history, and has led innovative public health projects on prevention of long-term conditions, particularly diabetes.

Muriel Tūnoho is president of E tū, one of New Zealand’s largest unions and national coordinator for Healthcare Aotearoa, which represents many community and iwi controlled primary health providers. She is also involved with Hutt Union & Community Health Service and is an executive member on the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa board.

Dr Karen Poutasi is a former Director-General of Health. She oversaw the establishment of district health boards and the amalgamation of the former Health Funding Authority with the Ministry of Health. She has extensive experience at both a governance and management level, with deep knowledge and networks in the health system.

Dr Lester Levy has extensive knowledge of the health sector. He is Chair of the three Auckland district health boards, and has a wealth of experience in other private and government governance roles.

The best possible advice is essential for making decisions on health, and this group should the Minister.

David Farrar gives it a tick in Clark pushes out Chuah:

I don’t know all the members but Roche, Poutasi and Levy are well regarded and could well play a good role in improving the performance of the Ministry of Health.

Clark dines pushing Chuah: Outgoing health boss ‘not pushed’

Labour has been highly critical of Chai Chuah in the past but it was his choice to resign, David Clark says.

Hobson’s choice perhaps, but as Farrar said, Clark needs to have confidence in the Health boss.

In Parliament yesterday Clark responded to patsy questions (and one from the Opposition) with some of his expectations.

12. Dr LIZ CRAIG (Labour) to the Minister of Health: Why has he established the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Health System?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Minister of Health): Today, I announced that I have established a ministerial advisory group because it has become increasingly clear to me that all is not well within our public health system. I require strong, independent advice about how we can lift the ministry’s performance and leadership, to begin to address the challenges facing our health system and, in particular, to rebuild the relationships that were seriously strained under the previous Government.

Dr Liz Craig: Thank you, Mr Speaker. What does he expect the ministerial advisory group will do to improve New Zealand’s health system?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I expect that the ministerial advisory group will provide the strategic advice required to deliver on this Government’s commitments in health and ensure that the $8 billion we have committed to investing in health will make a positive difference in people’s lives. This will include, for example, improving access to primary care by lowering the costs of visiting a GP.

Dr Shane Reti: Isn’t it more correct to say he’s set up the ministerial advisory group to tell him what his health plan in health should be, because he doesn’t have a plan?


Dr Liz Craig: Will the ministerial advisory group improve relationships across the health sector?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: One of the first things I expect the ministerial advisory group to do will be to rebuild relationships across the health sector. Strong and productive relationships are required to deliver the healthcare New Zealanders expect and deserve. I’m confident that the ministerial advisory group will be able to do this, and I have no doubt that its members will be talking and listening to district health boards, primary health organisations, and others up and down the country.

A line up of doctors, with both Craig and Reti having worked in health roles. That’s not necessarily all positive, the last Minister of Health, Dr Jonathan Coleman, seemed to lack in communication skills, something that’s essential in this portfolio.

I wish Clark and his Advisory Group well – I may need their help some time in the future, and there’s been some scary bad health stories coming out of Dunedin Hospital – the hospital whose case for replacement has been kicked down the road for a while now.

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  1. Corky

     /  6th December 2017

    If David Clark wants some advice, here it is. He will save the tax payer billions:

    1- Slash the number of DHB’s.

    2- Make it compulsory for everyone to receive a yearly chiropractic hip assessment and adjustment if necessary. *

    3- Compulsory daily multi vitamin tablet to be consumed . Extra selenium, boron and iodine to be added.*

    Simple stuff. In fact it wouldn’t save the country billions…it would be trillions.

    * Assumes I have the socialist mentality of compulsion.

    • Blazer

       /  6th December 2017

      what evidence can you provide that these do any good at all…
      Compulsory daily multi vitamin tablet to be consumed . Extra selenium, boron and iodine to be added.*

      • PartisanZ

         /  6th December 2017

        Or we could begin to progressively de-stress society?

        Stress being a major contributor to so much of our dis-ease.

        Advisory Groups & Working Groups will be this government’s version of John Key’s “Appointed Panel” – Constitutional Advisory Panel, Flag ‘Whatever’ Panel …

        I NEVER FOR ONE MOMENT expected the Labour-led Coalition to act like this!

        It’s a day of really bad political-faith ‘hits’ for me ….. *TRIGGERED*!!!

      • Corky

         /  7th December 2017

        Fair question. Blazer, if you don’t realize why a multi vitamin would be needed with the extras i have indicated, it would take to long to explain. My fault.

        Now to my most bizarre suggestion about chiropractic care. You see the majority of hip problems start from uneven hips. One hip does most of the work. It wears out…hip replacement please. Other spinal problems ensue from uneven hips. That means people off work with back pain That costs us big money.

        Many of our elderly get plenty of calcium but still have brittle bones. They lack magnesium. Enter the multi vitamin. Kid lacking Iron. You name it.

  2. NOEL

     /  6th December 2017

    [Don’t suggest or assume or allege anything about people’s health.]

  3. NOEL

     /  6th December 2017

    Corky is your opinion the result of experience?

    I remember Judith Collins Ministerial Advisory Group on Veterans Health.
    I thought their obvious focus would be on investigating the adoption of the Australian RMO SOP’s . Instead they were limited to only evaluating if an existing accepted condition should be scientifically evaluated and be eligible for ex gratia payments.

    Ironically they heavily used the RMA SOP’s in their evaluation.

    i’m guessing from that example their brief will be so narrow as to not produce any beneficial changes.

    • Corky

       /  7th December 2017

      1- Slash the number of DHB’s.

      Doesn’t need experience, just common sense.

      • Gezza

         /  7th December 2017

        DHBs are the organisations both previous governments have needed to have to have someone else to blame for their underfunding of health services. Without them, the government gets the blame directly & has no one else to deflect it onto.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  7th December 2017

          There is always a strong psh for local communities to have control over their health resources.
          When cutting the number of DHB’s has been mooted it always gets huge pushback from the regions who don’t want decisions made by faceless centralised bureaucrats.
          While it seems obvious, the reality is it is far more complex than simply cutting out middle management…

  4. Zedd

     /  7th December 2017

    I think Dr Clark has just realised what J Coleman (ex-minister/smug prick) & the recently resigned Director have likely been covering up for 9 loooong years.. maybe just the start of many other Natz cover ups, that will come to light ?

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th December 2017

    Our health service is run by bureaucrats. Fund the patients via their GPs instead of the hospitals and privatise most of it.

    • Zedd

       /  7th December 2017

      Mind the gap.. what about folks who struggle to afford going to a GP & private hospitals ?

      Should we ‘just accept our fate’ & go away to die, quietly, somewhere ??


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