Simpson Review: Massive opportunities for Maori with the establishment of a Maori Health Authority and a clean up of the DHBs
National Maori Authority Chair, Matthew Tukaki, has welcomed the publishing of the Simpson Review into the Health and Disability system in New Zealand saying “It’s a brutal look at the system but also a pathway of opportunity towards closing the gaps when it comes to the health inequities between Maori and non-Maori. Tukaki, who is also the Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council said that “the Interim Report stated clearly the lack of a collective culture in the health and disability system and, in particular, those very health inequities that have concerned Maori for a long time”.
“When it comes to every health indicator from cardiovascular disease to breast and prostate cancer, right through to diabetes and limb amputation, Maori have loomed large in negative data – also the way Maori health is perceived by providers and some District Health Boards alike”. Tukaki said
“I absolutely welcome the recommendation of a Maori Health Authority – I have been on the record for the last two years in respect of standing this up and I thank Heather for listening to myself, the Maori Council and the National Maori Authority – this is the path way to self sustaining and governing role of Maori for Maori in the primary health sector”. Tukaki said
“So what is it? A Māori Health Authority is established as an independent departmental agency, reporting directly to the Minister of Health with responsibility for: – advising the Minister on all aspects of Māori health policy – monitoring and reporting to the Minister on the performance of the health and disability system with respect to Māori health outcomes and equity – partnering with the system to ensure that mātauranga Māori and other Māori health issues are appropriately incorporated into all aspects of the system – managing the development and implementation of the Māori workforce strategy and plans – managing investment in workforce and Māori provider development and in initiatives to develop innovative approaches to improving Māori health outcomes. “ Tukaki said
“In terms if DHBs and establishment of a new entity, Health New Zealand, this is also a good move – particularly when it comes to better stewardship of the District Health Boads. The provision to elect board members must be repealed and boards should comprise eight appointed members and a Chair, appointed against a transparent framework to ensure board members’ experience covers an appropriate range of governance and health sector competencies, and reflects te Tiriti partnership. That means a 50% Maori appointment program – but of particular note I say this – the recommendation to have the number of DHB’s reduced to between 8 and 12 over the next five years is very welcome. I said time and time again – invest more in direct health outcomes and hospital and service centre infrastructure and less on the need for more than twenty backends.” Tukaki said
“Of course there is more and the report is comprehensive. But I would argue strongly this sets Maori health on the path to removing inequity, focus more on new models of Maori health provision and much more. The development of our national hauora network, health workforce and much more is now more clear than it ever has been – and to be frank the recommendation to establish a Maori Health Authority is a great starting point” Tukaki said.
“I would very much like to thank Heather Simpson for the report and its recommendations but also the Maori health directorate of the Ministry and the Associate Minister, Peeni Henare, for all the work they have done” Tukaki said.