View this email in your browser
Issue #12 - 26 July 2022
In this edition
Chief Executives' Update
Health reform updates
Operational Updates
Health sector updates
Te Whatu Ora operational updates
Events around the motu

Chief Executives' update


Tēnā koutou e ngā kaimahi, 

No one understands the pressure our hospitals, primary care sector and communities are under better than you. We recognise that this is an especially challenging winter season for our kaimahi hauora. Whether you’re balancing a surge in patient demand, covering for sick colleagues, caring for unwell whānau, or you are unwell yourself, most of you are impacted in some way.  

We would like to thank you not only for what you do for New Zealanders, but also for the way you do it. For your commitment, passion and professionalism. This inspires us to bring our best to the job of building a health system to deliver pae ora for all New Zealanders. 

We’d like to reassure you that we have early initiatives underway to address workforce shortages (as outlined below) and initiatives in many other areas such as data, digital and commissioning. 

It’s important that we remain focused on managing the dual pressures of COVID-19 and seasonal illnesses throughout the rest of winter. Over the next few months, we will need to balance these immediate pressures with building a better health system. 

In the video below, you can hear more about the next steps in our organisational design.  

We’ll also talk a bit more about this in our first ever all-staff webinar, which is scheduled for this week (details also below). This will be the first of many regular webinars. We will be recording them so don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live session. 

In this edition of the People Pānui, we’re proud to be able to share some of the inspiring work happening across the health sector – so please read on. A big shout out to the Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley teams for their win at the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards last month, and our National Screening Unit for its recent Spirit of Service Award nomination.  

Well done everyone and thank you again. 


Ngā mihi, 
Margie and Riana

Health reform updates

Update on the draft Interim New Zealand Health Plan 

Work to draft the Interim NZ Health Plan – Te Pae Tata is nearing completion. We expect to be sharing this with you in a few weeks’ time but for now, here’s an update on some of the key features of Te Pae Tata.  

Te Pae Tata outlines the main areas of focus for the next two years, specifying how we will: 

  • deliver on the health reforms  

  • enact our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi 

  • increase access to health care, and 

  • put whānau at the centre of our health services. 

Te Pae Tata has been guided by the interim Government Policy Statement (iGPS), which is the Government’s public statement of what it expects the health sector to deliver over the next two years. We also asked a wide range of New Zealanders about their aspirations for the health system, including 3,000 people who attended our health reform roadshows in late 2021. And we reviewed 646 submissions on the Health and Disability System Review and more than 4,600 submissions on the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) legislation through the Select Committee process – many of which have helped to inform Te Pae Tata. 

We are already thinking about how we might shape the New Zealand Health Plan, which will cover the period of 2024–2027 and outline how services will be delivered in a transformed health system. 

Workforce Update

We’re making early progress to address some of our workforce challenges. We’ve had a strong response to our overseas recruitment campaigns – an encouraging number of workers from across the specialties, such as doctors, nurses, allied health and midwifery, are currently being facilitated through immigration. 

Te Whatu Ora is now an accredited employer on the Immigration website. We’re also setting up a national service, which will be locally delivered to help healthcare workers and their families meet immigration requirements. This service will be scaled up as we recruit more people to support the service.  

We’ll provide more information on this in the next edition of pānui. 

Telling the health reform story

A public information campaign promoting our new national health system will launch later this month. 

The campaign explains the shift to a single national health system, while also talking – at a high level – about some of the key changes that will be made over time.  

The campaign features actors who are representative of our diverse population –particularly those groups who have been historically underserved by the health system such as Māori, and Pasifika.  

It will run throughout August and September on our digital channels, with some targeted radio and other channels also in the mix. 

Campaign posters and handouts will be distributed in and around public touchpoints like waiting rooms and reception areas. Key elements of the campaign collateral are being produced in alternative formats and languages to ensure the messaging is accessible to as many people as possible. 

Health reforms - the five system shifts

Our new health system will help people get the right healthcare, where and when they need it. 

 The first step towards this goal was the creation of the new heath agencies Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora. For the longer term, the Government has specified five key areas of change – these are: 

  1. The health system will uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi, 

  1. People and whānau will be supported to stay well and connected to their communities, 

  1. High quality specialist and emergency care will be equitable and accessible to all when it is needed, 

  1. Digital services and technology will provide more care in people’s homes and communities, and 

  1. Our health workforce will be valued and well trained, ensuring we have enough skilled people to meet future needs. 

If you want to learn more, watch the short video below: 5 system shifts 

Te Whatu Ora operational updates

Working differently to enable change 

Listen to Margie outline next steps for designing of our new organisational structure. Click here: Part 1  & Part 2 

The role of Te Whatu Ora's board 

Check out our new video of Board Chair Rob Campbell explaining the role of Te Whatu Ora’s board.

In the video, Rob also makes a commitment to provide a summary report of board decisions after each meeting – we’ve summarised this for you below. 

Te Whatu Ora board meeting, Friday 15 July 2022 – summary of decisions: 

  • Approved organisational policies on Conflict of Interest, Code of Conduct, Health Safety and Wellbeing. 

  • Endorsed increased communication of board meeting decisions, including publishing meeting dates, key agenda items and decisions. 

  • Approved terms of reference for the following seven committees being established by the board: 

1. Finance and Audit 

2. Capital and Infrastructure 

3. Data, Digital and Innovation 

4. Clinical Quality Assurance 

5. Health, Safety and Wellbeing 

6. People, Culture, Development and Remuneration 

7. Community and Primary Care 

The Board heard presentations from the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Health and discussed how the health entities will work together to drive all-of-system health responses. 

Upcoming board meeting dates for 2022: 

  • Friday 29 July  

  • Friday 26 August  

  • Friday 23 September  

  • Friday 28 October  

  • Friday 25 November  

Reminder: organisational policies rolled over on 1 July

To maintain business continuity, we rolled over most of our corporate policies without change on 1 July. 

We’re starting a programme of work to align our policies across Te Whatu Ora, so that we’re covered by one set of organisational policies. 

We’ll work on a small number of high priority policies first, including delegations, which we’ll do in consultation with unions and staff, where appropriate.  

In the meantime, people who joined Te Whatu Ora from a DHB, shared service agency or Te Hiringa Hauora (and people who have organisational policies. This will ensure alignment across groups until the new suite of policies is produced for Te Whatu Ora.   

An initial set of Te Whatu Ora organisational policies has been drafted. Once approved, these policies will apply to people who joined Te Whatu Ora in a ‘national office’ role but who didn’t transfer under the Pae Ora Act. This includes permanent, seconded and temporary employees and contractors.   

The Ministry of Health employment policies continue to apply to people who transferred from the Ministry under the Pae Ora Act. 

Health sector updates

National Public Health Service updates  

We are pleased to announce the following senior appointments to the National Public Health Service.   

Leadership team appointments: 

  • Director, Transformation: Maria Poynter.  

  • Interim Director, Outbreak Response: Matt Hannant.  

  • Nicola Ehau, Chief Advisor Ngāti Porou, and Kathrine Clarke, Principal Advisor, National Planning, Public Health will be part of the NPHS Leadership Team, until permanent roles are confirmed.  

New role on the leadership team: 

  • Advisor, Pacifica Public Health – This role is likely to be a joint appointment with the Pacifica Directorate, focusing on Pacifica public health workforce development and Pacifica NGO relationships.  

We’ll be recruiting for this role soon.  

Regional Directors: 

  • Interim Regional Director, Central: Peter Gush (replacing Helen Leahy - recruitment underway). 

  • Interim Regional Director, Te Manawa Taki: Simon Everitt (until permanent Director Dr Natasha White commences in late October) 


All national office vacancies for Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, including expressions of interest and backfills, are advertised on the interim careers website:   

Events around the motu

Safety is the Winner in Wellington Operating Theatres  

Congratulations to CCDHB for recognition of their efforts to maximise workplace safety for theatre staff at the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards last month.  

CCDHB’s Health and Safety and Wellbeing Service took home the WorkSafe New Zealand award for best initiative to address a work-related health risk for their project to reduce exposure to formaldehyde in Wellington Regional Hospital Operating Theatres.   

Decanting formalin in operating theatres exposes nurses to formaldehyde, which is not only hazardous in direct contact but also releases toxic fumes. Existing controls, which relied on the use of shared PPE, were insufficient to manage the risk for theatre nurses, especially in a time-critical environment. The Health and Safety and Wellbeing Service looked for an engineering solution to better manage the risk of formaldehyde exposure, trialling several options over the course of 18 months.  

The result was the installation of the UltraSafe unit in Wellington Hospital’s theatre department. The formalin dispensing system features a sealed chamber with vapor extraction, where an automated process weighs the sample before dispensing formalin into a special container fitted with one-way valves, further reducing any risks with manual handling. Since installation the unit has been used an average of 4 times per day. This is the first time this unit has been used in New Zealand, but it’s already proven to be a winning choice. 

We’ve been nominated for top public service award   

We’re delighted to announce that our national bowel screening programme and Counties Manukau Living Smokefree Service have both been nominated for Te Tohu mō te Ratonga Whakahirahira | Service Excellence Award. 

The prestigious Service Excellence Award is given out each year by the Public Service Commission for outstanding initiatives in the public sector. The judges were extremely impressed by this year’s entries, who demonstrate not only public sector excellence but a commitment to improving the lives of New Zealanders. This year’s nominees also include Care in the Community Welfare Response, New Zealand Traveller Declaration and the Translation Service. 

We’ll need to wait until 15 September for the winner to be announced – but, in the meantime, we’re wishing the team at the National Screening Unit and Counties Manukau Living Smokefree Service the very best of luck.    

National bowl screening programme   

The national bowel screening programme is expected to detect to 700 cancers each year by providing free home-testing kits to more than 835,000 adults. The kits are easy to use and will help specialists find bowl cancer at an early stage when it can often be successfully treated.    

Participants are identified and tracked using Aotearoa’s first health population register, which brings together data from a range of sources, including National Health Index, National Enrolment Service, and Cancer Register. The software has been so successful it was cloned to deliver the National Contact Tracing (NCTS) solution for the COVID-19 response.  

Check out the all-singing all-dancing media campaign   

As mentioned in the last People Pānui, the new screening programme is supported by a media campaign that takes a positive and upbeat approach to the serious topic of bowel cancer. Produced by the Puhimoana Ariki Collective, the campaign reflects Māori and Pacific ways of engaging, thinking, working and creating. There was strong input from consumers and people who work with communities every day to encourage bowel screening.   

Check out the television commercial here.  

Counties Manukau Living Smokefree Service  

Each year, Counties Manukau Living Smokefree Service supports over 7000 people – the majority of whom are Māori or Pasifika – through a programme to quit smoking. The programme boasts a success rate of between 70 and 80 per cent, which is partly attributed its whānau-led approach, and consideration of other factors such as a person’s home environment.  

Interim District Director Counties Manukau Dr Pete Watson said the team is an outstanding performer, who consistently deliver equitable results for the community. 

“The [team’s] outcomes for quitting are outstanding. The team’s results are consistently among the top in Aotearoa and we’re immensely proud,” said Dr Watson. 

Crutch amnesty success 

Gisborne hospital attributes the success of its crutch amnesty to marketing and careful logistics planning. 

Despite Covid-19 restrictions at the hospital, more than 200 pairs of crutches and other hospital equipment have been returned since April. Dubbed Crutches, Not Grudges, the campaign asked people to widen the horizon of their search for unreturned crutches by suggesting they hunt through their nan’s shed, under the bed in the spare room, and in wardrobes – anyone’s wardrobes – and much more but you get the idea. 

Creative flourishes aside, they mostly attribute the success of the campaign to the Gisborne District Council and the HB Williams Memorial Library Gisborne, who kindly provided locations for people to drop off the equipment while the hospital had restrictions in place. 

Needless to say, they are very happy with the outcome and are making good use of the returned hospital equipment. 


Staff profile 

Mara Andrews, Deputy CE, Service Development and Iwi Māori Relations, Te Aka Whai Ora 

Tell us a little about yourself  

I’m Mara Andrews of Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa and Whakatohea. I’m a descendant of Te Waihaki Anaru, granddaughter of Teiwiwhati Andrews, and daughter of the late Dick and June Andrews. I’m also an old girl of Napier Girls High and Hukarere Māori Girls College, and I’m a mother, and grandmother. 

I lived in Canada from 2008 to 2019, where I worked in health care with the First Nations indigenous people of Canada. 

I studied management at Massey University and hold an MBA from Henley, UK. My recent interest in whakapapa research and indigenous artefacts has led me to start a PhD on Tribal Governance in Health Care in the Unites States of America.  

What’s your role at Te Aka Whai Ora?  

I’m Deputy Chief Executive, Service Development and Iwi Māori Relations. 

What are you working on at the moment?   

I’m leading the work around the Iwi Māori Partnership Board (IMPB) team and working with the localities team. The localities team are working with locality prototypes, so I’m supporting them to initiate their locality planning processes.  

I’m also working with the Māori provider commissioning team, who are preparing for engagement with Māori providers across the motu to look at capacity and capability needs. And working the service development team, which comprises Māori clinicians, service experts and whānau voice advocates – all of whom have contributed to the draft Interim NZ Health Plan – and I continue to work hand in hand with their Te Whatu Ora counterparts in service design, review, improvement and co-commissioning.  

What’s coming up next?  

Moving to recognition of Iwi Maori Partnership Boards, so that they have a legitimate role in locality planning, is a key short-term objective. Also getting our B22 commissioning plan endorsed by our Board to make available much-needed resources for the sector and supporting Māori providers to move to a more sustainable and recognised position in the sector. 

What’s your advice to the health sector?  

Be optimistic, be hopeful, be open to REALLY listening and learning, and not making assumptions – and acknowledge that whanau who live and work in their communities know best about what works for them. It is easier said than done. Even still, our sector has a culture of tending to develop answers and solutions in-house, with limited local knowledge, and has a limited appreciation for local expertise. We need to move from leading in the sector to learning and supporting local people to develop their own solutions, and to humbling ourselves to that expertise. 

What do you get up to when you’re not working?  

I love watching reality crime shows and learning how detectives work. Spending time with my moko when she comes over from Murupara! Each month, I travel back home to work in the whānau urupā. I find it really satisfying to keep our urupa clean, and I love talking to the tipuna, and I find real therapy in being in the quiet space doing some physical work! And outside of that, trying to finish this PhD!
Copyright © 2022 Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.