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Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists says on first impressions, the long-awaited recommendations out of the Simpson Health and Disability System Review are sensible and would help join up what has become the fractured delivery of health care in New Zealand.

The creation of a new agency called Health NZ to manage health service delivery, facilities, IT, and to oversee employment strategy, represents a welcome approach.

ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton says having more centralised and integrated oversight is welcome.

She says a proposed new Māori Health Authority is also long overdue.

ASMS takes a cautious approach on the plan to cut the number of DHBs.

“We are not convinced this would actually bring improvements and there would need to be a lot of relationship-building across DHBs before they would be ready for mergers. We’d also be concerned about the potential for the clinical voice to be lost if executive decision makers were too far away from the clinical coalface,” Sarah Dalton says.

ASMS believes the proposal for hospital and specialist services to operate more cohesively within a national plan is a positive step, along with the focus on integrating services across primary care and hospitals.

It is also pleased to see strong recommendations around more long-term workforce planning and the report’s call for a reinvigoration of the Tripartite Accord between health sector unions, employers, and the Government.

Sarah Dalton says, “it’s heartening to note that the report calls on DHBs to be good employers along with an acknowledgement that DHBs have been significantly underfunded”.

ASMS has recently written to the Health Minister about processes around the commissioning and delivery of new hospital builds and is happy to see the report recommend long-term planning, prioritisation and consistency around buildings, infrastructure, and IT systems.

“The recommendations in the report are comprehensive but as the Review panel notes, there needs to be wholesale adoption for them to make a positive difference to the health system.

“The panel clearly thinks it’s time for Aotearoa to walk the health talk around equity and sustainability.  What we need now is cross-party collaboration to ensure these goals are not lost,” Sarah Dalton adds.

You can access the full report here