Abolishment of DHBs an opportunity to unite Pacific health providers

Dr Kiki Maoate, ONZM, FRACS

The New Zealand Government’s plan to abolish the 20 district health boards in favour of a centralised body is an opportunity for all Pacific health providers to unite and ensure the new model will provide positive outcomes for Pacific families, says the chair of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA).

Dr Kiki Maoate, ONZM, FRACS, says the proposed changes announced by Health Minister Andrew Little yesterday, will have minimal impact on the health services his organisation provides to Pacific families through its Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Pasifika Futures and its partners.

“Theses are changes and functions in our national health care at a governance level and will be driven by a central positioning, but it’s unlikely to change what we do.”

The plan is to centralise the country’s fragmented healthcare system and create a single crown entity, Health New Zealand. It will have four regional divisions and be responsible for running hospitals and commissioning primary and community health services.

Although the establishment of a Māori Health Authority was announced as part of the proposed changes, Dr Maoate says it was concerning that there was little mention of a framework for the Pacific community.

“What was missing throughout the recommendations was a lack of attention to Pacific health outcomes, infrastructure and workforce. We have a need to develop strategies for Pacific people to improve the difficult times our families struggle with their health.”

He says the changes presents an opportunity to unify and consolidate the Pacific health provider network across the country.

“This is an important time for the leadership of all our Pacific health providers to come together and talk about what our common goal is and agree how we can make this new platform work for our organisations and most importantly, the Pacific families that we serve.

There’s an opportunity for us to showcase what we have developed over the years and to show our strength.”

#pmafamily

Date: Thursday 22 April 2021