New member of Whanganui DHB reflects on his future. Made with funding from NZ On Air.

It has been a memorable few weeks for Mary Bennett, newly appointed to the Whanganui District Board of Health.

For the current chairman of the DHB’s iwi relations board, Hauora a Iwi, the appointment has been a long time coming. The DHB post became vacant early last year.

“If you think about last year with Covid, as you might expect the government has different priorities when it comes to the health of the nation, so we’ve been patient,” Bennett said.

Bennett obtained the letter of appointment from the minister’s office on the eve of the health reform announcement. The details of what exactly the health reforms will look like are not yet clear, but the priority is to straighten out the current statistics.

“What does it look like and what do we want to see over the next 10, 20, 30 years?

“How will we know when the system is up to our employees? And one way to know is if the statistics are drastically changing ”.

One thing that could make some changes is the $ 242 million allocated in this year’s budget for the establishment of a Maori health authority.

“We know the current model, the current system, doesn’t work for everyone,” Bennett said.

“So it is very important to find the ‘why’ and to be able to provide a solution tailored to the different communities that we have in our region at large. “

“Some of the things that we know, and we are learning from last year’s Covid response, are making a big difference to people. We don’t want to have a system that continues to be disease driven.”

While the statistics are unlikely to change right away, long-term collaboration between government departments is expected to play an important role in the future of preventive health care.

“Some of these things are absolutely going to be intergenerational, but we’ve already seen examples of how various systems can come together to provide service in a more holistic way.”

For now, the demographics of each region and the individual needs of each community are all under consideration.

“The needs in the middle reaches of the river could be very different from the needs in the lower reaches. The needs in Waverley, where we have an older retiree population, the majority are actually non-Maori, could be quite different from the needs. staves in the middle of the awa. Considering all these dynamics, what is the service? Geographically, how can we supply?

“Health reforms are a great opportunity for Maori, for iwi to show how things can work differently. I think we cannot forget that Health NZ will also have a responsibility in terms of equity.”

The current DHB system will be abolished at the end of June 2022 to be replaced by a new public health agency under the Ministry of Health, alongside the Māori Health Authority. The reforms will be phased in over the next three years.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-06 01:34:03


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