Joint release | Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora

New clinical networks will play a key role in developing national standards and models of care that will help reduce postcode lotteries and variation in access to health care.

Expressions of Interest for the co-leadership of the first tranche of National Clinical Networks were today released by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora.

The networks will be a core part of the new health system and will see clinical leaders from across professional disciplines working in partnership with health agencies to shape a better, fairer and more equitable health system. 

“Building a better health future is a big job and to do it well, we need to have the right voices at the decision-making tables, say Te Whatu Ora National Lead, Medical Pete Watson and Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Medical Officer Rawiri McKree Jansen.

“Clinicians from a wide range of specialist services, and with knowledge of our diverse communities, have a huge role to play in delivering the system shifts we have committed to – including ensuring everyone will have equitable access to high quality emergency and specialist care when they need it, wherever they live,” says Pete Watson.

The networks will be charged with developing national standards and models of care, identifying ways to address variation in service quality and outcomes, addressing equity and coming up with new evidence-based solutions to create the health system shifts we are seeking.

While there are currently some existing national services and networks in place, they don’t cover a broad range of specialist services and they all operate differently. 

The establishment of a greater number of networks, with a clear mandate and common operating approach, will ensure clinicians are supported to play an important role in delivering change.

The networks will report to a governance group co-chaired by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, which will each appoint a co-lead for every network.

We are starting by transitioning existing networks and first tranche involves the networks for trauma, stroke, cardiac and renal.

The current leaders of all these networks will remain in place while the networks are transitioned and until the new co-leads are appointed. The co-leads will then build the membership of the new networks.

Further networks will be transitioned and established over the next 12 or so months.

“We want to see a range of healthcare professionals put their hands up to be involved in the networks because we want diversity of thinking around the table,” Rawiri McKree Jansen says.

“For the same reason, Māori clinical leadership and leadership from other communities which consistently experience inequitable access to healthcare will be key to delivering system change and must have strong representation on the networks.”

Engagement with consumers, whānau and communities on our health future is a top priority across the system and will be key to ensuring the networks deliver.  There are range of mechanisms for achieving this and different approaches may be appropriate for different networks. Formalising these mechanisms will be one of the first establishment tasks of each network. 

Find more information on the Expressions of Interest process, which will be open for three weeks, and the networks plan here.