Health and disability inquiry calls for public input

David Clark
David Clark
After months of silence, some details have finally emerged about the Government's review of health and disability services.

The review, led by Heather Simpson, a former health academic and adviser to former prime minister Helen Clark, was announced by Health Minister David Clark in May.

Draft terms of reference were released at the same time, but very little information about the inquiry's intentions for gathering information and evidence have been forthcoming, despite the fact an interim report is due by July this year.

A newly released update on the inquiry's website has called for public submissions on what changes could improve the performance of the system.

''Our focus is on changes that will have their full impact in five to 10 years' time,'' it said.

From now until May the inquiry is asking for information about how the system works now, and the most critical areas to focus its work on.

''We are interested in your views on the system-level changes which would have the most impact on improving equity of outcomes in the future.''

Further submissions would be called for after the release of the draft report.

The website also added a series of ''Phase 1 Questions'', which included:

  • What are the three or four values that you would want to underpin our future public health and disability system?
  • What health and disability system changes would have the most impact on ensuring that disabled people have equal opportunities to achieve their goals and aspirations?
  • What initiatives do you believe have delivered improved and equitable health outcomes and wellbeing in New Zealand or overseas? What impacts have these approaches had and what is their potential to deliver further improvement?

''We are opening an online process so all interested parties can have their say on how the health and disability system can be improved,'' Ms Simpson said.

''This will not be the only means of participating: the panel will continue to meet with interested parties and will sponsor many different workshops around the country in 2019.''

After considering equity issues in health, the panel would consider whether the system was able to meet technological, demographic, workforce and other challenges, Ms Simpson said.

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