Labour should hold its head in shame about how such a significant reform has been so badly handled. In an article on RNZ recently it was stated:
Briefings by a powerful committee with the health minister’s ear, reveal strife and delays surrounding Te Whatu Ora reforms.
They show that almost a year into the biggest ever overhaul of the country’s health system, no one had an overall road map.
“Assessment of reform progress to date has been subjective as there has not been a clear overarching system-level reform roadmap with milestones in place,” a report to Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in May.
A series of briefings and emails released under the OIA show the year-old ministerial advisory committee, or MAC, struggling with its one and only job – to keep the multiheaded hydra of reforms on track.
The “ongoing lack of clarity” it faced is mentioned six times in the briefings.
Crucially, they show that by mid-year, almost a year since Te Whatu Ora subsumed the 20 health boards, the MAC had yet to see any documents about the new shape of regional arrangements for health delivery. Iwi partnership delivery was also unclear.
I sent the article to a person who works within health, and this is what she wrote:
What this demonstrates is the complete lack of accountability for an abject failure to improve the healthcare for the public of NZ. It demonstrates that “crime does pay” if you are a wealthy consulting firm that has just ripped off the public and got away with it! (if I was a Maori and not paid a speeding ticket I would be on the pay to the courts. If I was EY, I have just made millions and am now ready to charge even more)
- How has the health reforms improved healthcare (which was the only rationale for the reforms)? It hasn’t. In fact health care has gone backwards, there is absolutely no public reporting or visibility of care being provided.
- The key architects of the Health Reforms (EY – Stephen McKernan, Andrew Little) have created an absolute disaster. Where is the accountability? EY have made tens of millions out of the health reforms and the only outcome is breaking and fragmenting health care and delivering less. In many other sectors this would be deemed as grossly negligent and people / organisations would be held to account. It might be time to re-engage EY and pay them more tens of millions to start fixing what they broke.
- The statement that “The Ministry of Health says an assessment has found there is confidence that the countries health reforms are on track. It asked 20 senior leaders of the reforms in August what progress they have made, expect to make and if there are significant risks. Their responses were that many of the right foundations were in place, and other elements would be in place by the middle of next year.” This is just laughable and like turkeys voting for Christmas. The road map provided is unintelligible, complicated and has zero chance of making any difference. In addition, there are beautifully written documents that bear NO relation and have no relevance to the workforce that will inherit these plans.
The fact that basic information is no longer available about health is an absolute disgrace. The statement “From 2024-2027, the New Zealand public and the health workforce will start to experience benefits of the new health system through the introduction of national approaches for key services, increases in digital services and investment in primary and community care.” Is just fanciful beliefs NOT supported by any credible pathway.
The big accounting firms need to rethink their advice. They charge like wounded bulls and so often produce what they think people want them to say.
This article also makes me reflect on just what happened in this city. We had a brilliantly performing health system with the DHB. The government decided to break it up. They appointed people to attend to this exercise. The MP’s who had been the best mates of David Meates and his team participated in breaking up something special. Why? Because they dumbly followed the Ministry of Health who hated Meates. What place for local advocacy when they knew that things were fine down here. Just underfunded.
Formerly powerful Labour politicians, like Andrew Little, are now out looking for a new job. They let the Labour Party down by being duped by the Ministry and demonstrated that they didn’t understand the challenges in front of them, nor did they have a party policy on how to address these challenges. They also let the public down because what we have got now is dreadful. They let the health force down by promoting a poorly thought through centralised system.
With some things, centralisation is necessary. However, health is deeply personal and must be local.
Health requires people who live locally to deliver services locally. It requires technical and professional skills delivered with care and compassion. It requires a commitment to training the necessary number of health professionals and paying them properly. Right now, we are carrying the cost of well trained staff leaving the country to live in other places. We paid for their training and then wouldn’t pay them.
The major beneficiaries from this disaster have been consultants. This Christmas they will be able to take their break and fly across the world to expensive holiday spots on our money which they wasted. The politicians who got sucked in by the consultants will be licking their wounds and blaming the public for not understanding the reforms which they still think they got right.