National Clinical Networks will be a core part of the operation of the new health system that we are building.

They will involve hospital and primary care experts from across professional disciplines working with consumers and whānau, to influence how we prioritise and drive system change through the development of national standards and models of care.

Te Pae Tata identifies the establishment of regional and national networks as a key step in removing unwarranted variations in access to care, waiting times and clinical practice.

While there are existing national services and networks in place, they only cover a small proportion of specialist services, and don’t operate with a common set of principles or objectives.

The establishment of a broader range of more representative networks, with common operating approaches and a clear mandate, will enable clinicians to support the delivery of consistent service quality and outcomes across the country.

The networks will help lead the delivery of the five system shifts and ensure we succeed in reducing variations in access to care and close equity gaps.

What the networks will do

The focus will be developing national standards and models of care, identifying ways to address variation in service quality and outcomes, addressing equity, and developing innovative, efficient, and evidence-based solutions that will inform investments and workforce planning and be applied nationally.

The networks will do this in collaboration with relevant national, regional, and local stakeholders and will identify what care and services are required at different levels, who should provide these services, and how the services or care should be delivered.

Where the networks will sit in the organisation structure

The networks will be accountable to the national Hospital and Specialist Services team, sitting under the Director, National Clinical Networks, who will ensure sufficient management and leadership time is available to support the networks to deliver.

The network co-leads will be professionally accountable to, and work closely with, the national clinical leadership team, to which they will have a dotted reporting line.

A programme governance group, chaired by the National Clinical Directors of Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, will oversee the networks.

Each network will agree a work plan which will be signed off by the programme governance group. It will ensure the plans demonstrate ways of working informed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and are focused on the core objectives of seeking consistent equity of access, patient experience and outcomes.

How leadership and membership will be decided

Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora will each appoint a co-lead for all the networks following an Expression of Interest (EOI) process.  The co-leads, working with the governance group, will then determine the network membership.

Each network will have Māori, interprofessional and primary care leadership and membership to ensure the networks take a system-wide view. Each region will also be represented.  

Consumer and whānau representation will be very important.  There are a range of options for ensuring these voices are included and the governance group will work with each network to determine how best to achieve this.   

Timeframe for establishing the networks

A phased approach will be taken to establishing the networks, with an initial focus on those that are already running, have work programmes or have urgent issues that need addressing.   

The first tranche involves transitioning the existing cardiac, stroke, renal and trauma networks. Further networks are being established over the following 12 months. 

Expressions of Interest

  • Expressions of Interest to be co-leads of the Diabetes National Clinical Network close on 24 May. See Updates and Announcements for more information.
  • Expressions of interest to be co-leads of the following Networks have now closed: Mental Health and Addiction, Maternity, Oral Health, Eye Health, Cardiac, Trauma, Renal, Stroke, Rural Health, Urology, Vascular Surgery, Radiology, Infection Services, Critical Care

Updates and Announcements

8 May 2024

Diabetes National Clinical Network key to Diabetes Action Plan

Expressions of interest to be co-leads of the inaugural Diabetes National Clinical Network have been extended to align with Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora’s (Health NZ) soon to be released Diabetes Action Plan.

With Health New Zealand targeting diabetes as one of five high impact illnesses, the establishment of the Diabetes National Clinical Network is a key initiative in the action plan to reduce the toll on people and communities.

Health NZ National Director Pacific Health, Markerita Poutasi spoke about the Diabetes Action Plan while delivering a speech at the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes conference last week (3 May).

“It’s projected that the number of people living with diabetes in Aotearoa New Zealand will double by 2040, around 90 per cent of which would be preventable type 2 diabetes,” says Markerita.

“The forthcoming National Diabetes Action Plan aims to address this crisis, through prevention, better access to quality care, breaking the intergenerational impact and reducing variation in access to services among our communities, particularly Māori and Pacific people.” 

The EOI for these 0.2 FTE roles is open until 24 May 2024. Learn more and apply here.

Those who expressed interest during the initial EOI period have been contacted so they are aware of the extension.

About National Clinical Networks

National Clinical Networks are tasked with developing national standards and models of care to reduce variation in access to health services and ultimately improve New Zealanders’ health outcomes. With clinical co-leads for eight Networks having been announced since the programme made its first appointments in October 2023, and EOIs for seven others either open or having recently closed, work is on track for the 20 confirmed Networks to have leadership in place by the end of 2024. Read more about the National Clinical Networks.

11 April 2024

EOIs are now open to be co-leads of the following National Clinical Networks:

  • Rural Health
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Radiology (one role)
  • Infection services (one role)
  • Critical Care (one role)


This is the first time the EOIs to be co-leads of the Rural Health, Urology and Vascular Surgery Networks have been advertised while the EOIs for Radiology, Infection Services and Critical Care Networks have reopened as one role for each Network was unfilled after the initial process. Read about the appointed co-leads.

Learn more and apply for Rural Health, Urology or Vascular Surgery. Applications are open until 19 May 2024.


Learn more and apply for Radiology, Infection Services or Critical Care. Applications are open until 9 May 2024.


Be part of Health NZ journey to create a more cohesive, accessible and people-centred health system.


The Networks’ clinical leadership and membership will represent wide specialist, cultural and geographical areas so please consider if you or someone you know could be interested in applying for these 0.2 FTE roles.

Co-leadership is a foundational principle of the National Clinical Networks which has seen a co-lead appointed by both Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora for each Network. The aim of this is to ensure the programme has the knowledge and expertise to apply Te Tiriti o Waitangi in practice, be enabled by Te Ao Māori and Pacific frameworks and a greater diversity of expert voices. The newly formed Hauora Māori Services Group within Health NZ will now appoint a co-lead for each additional Network, in the same way that Te Aka Whai Ora did, ensuring continuity and the intended co-leadership continues.


Clinical co-leads for eight Networks have been announced since the programme made its first appointments last October, and EOIs for Mental Health, Maternity, Diabetes and Oral Health closed this week. In all, there are 20 confirmed Networks and progress is on track to have leadership in place for them all by the third quarter.

The eight Networks which have had co-leads appointed since late 2023 are Stroke, Cardiac, Trauma, Renal, Radiology, Critical Care, Eye Health and Infection Services. Read the co-leads bios here.

The final group of confirmed Networks is Cancer, Pathology, Respiratory, Ear, Nose and Throat and Child Health. The release date for EOIs to be co-leads of these Networks will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

08 March 2024

The National Clinical Network programme that aims to reduce variation in access to health services and ultimately improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders is continuing to expand.

Since October 2023, Networks have been announced for Stroke, Cardiac, Trauma, Renal, Radiology, Critical Care, Eye Health and Infection Services, with co-leads having been appointed for each of these. Read their bios here.

12 more Networks have been confirmed and expressions of interest are now open to be co-leads of the following Networks:

  • Mental Health and Addiction
  • Diabetes
  • Maternity
  • Oral Health

Be part of Te Whatu Ora’s journey to create a more cohesive, accessible and people-centred health system.

Expressions of interest close on 09 April 2024.

Learn more and apply

EOIs for co-leads for the following Networks will be phased over the coming months. The plan is for all of these Networks to be operational this year.

  • Cancer
  • Urology
  • Pathology
  • Respiratory
  • Rural Health
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Ear, Nose and Throat
  • Child Health

19 January 2024 

National Clinical Networks leadership announced 

Leadership for four new National Clinical Networks has been announced. The Networks are being established to reduce variations in access to health services and deliver more consistent health outcomes for New Zealanders.  

The joint Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora appointments of experts to lead the Critical Care, Eye Health, Radiology and Infection Services National Clinical Networks builds on the Stroke, Cardiac, Trauma and Renal Networks which were established late last year. 

This marks a further step towards delivering on the Interim New Zealand Health Plan, Te Pae Tata, 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 new National Clinical Network appointees are: 

Critical Care: Nayda Heays, Hawke’s Bay and Alex Psirides, Wellington 

Eye Health: Alistair Papali’i-Curtin, Wellington and Sarah Welch, Auckland  

Radiology*: Sharyn MacDonald, Christchurch 

Infection Services*: Carolyn Clissold, Wellington  

Read their bios here.


Further information

For further information please email NationalClinicalNetworks@health.govt.nz