Expanding telehealth services and free pharmacy consultations are among 24 initiatives the government hopes will reduce pressure on the health system this winter. It comes after steadily declining performance for shorter hospital stays, with Accident and Emergency wait times last winter being the worst on record.
The initiatives are wide-ranging but broadly aim to redirect unnecessary demand on hospitals to care in the community.
The plan involves rolling out local innovations more widely, with the government emphasising the health reforms as a way of scaling these up across the country.
All but one of the 24 initiatives have already been tested locally, and will continue to be delivered locally but will be expanded to other areas – in some cases nationally.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall says it means resources will be more freely shared within regions, and encourage providers working together.
“This winter, a reformed health system is allowing us to identify successful local programmes and scale them across the country, tailoring any health care approach to meet unique needs.
“These initiatives being driven by Te Whatu Ora reinforce care at the right time, at the right place. They will deliver health services to people closer to where they live, ultimately alleviating additional pressure on our hospitals.”
More to come…