Joint release | Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora

Eight top health experts have been appointed to lead Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora’s first National Clinical Networks, being established to reduce variations in access to health services and deliver more consistent health outcomes for New Zealanders, the agencies announced today.

The appointment of co-leads for the Stroke, Trauma, Cardiac and Renal National Clinical Networks marks a further step towards delivering on the Interim National Health Plan, Te Pae Tata(opens in a new tab), and towards creating national clinical leadership across key services, which is critical to delivering a better, fairer health system for all people in all communities.

The National Clinical Network appointees are:

Trauma: Max Raos, Middlemore and James Moore, Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley (both Te Whatu Ora)

Cardiac: Cara Wasywich, Auckland and Lia Sinclair, Mid Central (both Te Whatu Ora)

Renal: Drew Henderson, Waikato (Te Whatu Ora) and Leanne Te Karu (Primary care)

Stroke: Alan Davis, Northland and Tracy Murphy, Hawke’s Bay (both Te Whatu Ora)

Read their bios here.

“Our goal is to ensure inclusive and diverse leadership of the National Clinical Networks to support the delivery of equitable access to high quality health services across primary, community and secondary care no matter who people are, or where they live,” says Te Whatu Ora Interim Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Richard Sullivan.

“The co-leads announced today reflect that commitment and bring a wide range of inter-professional clinical expertise and experience, including from te ao Māori and the primary care sector.

“We also want to also acknowledge the leadership of those who have provided their expertise and guidance in these areas, now being incorporated under the National Clinical Network programme umbrella.”

Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rawiri McKree-Jansen, says the Networks will be mandated to drive change through the development of national standards and models of care which will address variation in service quality and access.

“They will be mandated to develop innovative, efficient and evidence-based solutions that will inform investment decisions and national workforce planning.

“They will be enabled by te ao Māori and Pacific insights and expertise to ensure that future services meet the needs of our population. Both Te Whatu Ora’s Pacific Health Senate, Fatu Fono Ola, and Te Whiri Kaha, Te Aka Whai Ora’s Māori Clinical Forum, will have a role to play.”

Expressions of Interest for five further Networks closed last week. They are Radiation Oncology, Ophthalmology, Infection services, Critical Care and Radiology. More Networks are planned and the approach to establishing these, including how many there will be and how they might be grouped, will evolve as ideas are tested with different specialist services.

Once the membership of the Networks is established, their priorities will be identified. Examples of the type of issues the Networks might focus on include:

  • improving access to emergency stroke treatment, where there remains a five-fold variation across the country, with rural communities particularly disadvantaged
  • developing an evidence-based approach to national access for cardiac surgery
  • Developing an approach equitable and adequate access to renal dialysis facilities
  • investigating how to improve direct access to timely radiological diagnostics, particularly in rural areas