Overview - national palliative care work programme from July 2023

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand holds responsibility for developing a palliative care work programme co-sponsored by Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority. The purpose of this programme is to support a nationally consistent approach to palliative and end-of-life care planning, funding, service delivery and outcomes. 

This includes responding to the action in Te Pae Tata - Interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022 to develop a nationally consistent model for paediatric and adult palliative and end-of-life care that is integrated across primary and community health and strengthens the equitable provision of palliative care across Aotearoa (pg 63).

Te Whatu Ora is committed to working in partnership with Government agencies, providers of palliative care services (primary and specialist), consumers, and communities to ensure palliative and end-of-life care meets the needs of all New Zealanders and their whānau. Work will be informed by cross-agency and cross-sector input, national and international evidence, the lived experiences of people with palliative care needs and their whānau, and the priorities identified by communities. 

Steering group

A national palliative care steering group was established in August 2023. This group of leaders will provide oversight and guidance for the national work programme over a 2 year period. The steering group will also establish and oversee the various short-term working groups required.

Working in partnership with whānau and communities, the initial focus of the steering group will be overseeing the following key deliverables:

  1. providing recommendations on achieving equitable access to, and outcomes from, palliative care services for all New Zealanders
  2. identifying and recommending core palliative care services that will be publicly funded
  3. developing a national model for paediatric and adult palliative care
  4. proposing national adult specialist palliative care service specifications and costings
  5. providing recommendations to sustain a clinically and culturally competent, diverse workforce that represents the community it is serving and meets service demands
  6. developing a national outcomes and reporting framework.

Further information about the steering group can be found in the Terms of Reference and member biographies below.

Working groups

To achieve their deliverables, the steering group will establish and oversee 6 short-term working groups between September 2023 and June 2025. These working groups will each have a specific focus, and most will run for approximately 6 months. The proposed working groups are:

  • Equity (Oct 2023 – June 2025 approx.) see deliverable 1 above.
  • Models of care – paediatric (Oct 2023 – March 2024 approx.) see deliverables 2 and 3 above.
  • Models of care – adult (Jan 2024 – June 2024 approx.) see deliverables 2 and 3 above.
  • Contracting and funding (April 2024 – Sept 2024 approx.) see deliverable 4 above.
  • Workforce (July 2024 – Dec 2024 approx.) see deliverable 5 above.
  • Measures and reporting (Oct 2024 – March 2025 approx.) see deliverable 6 above.

Working group members will be appointed by the steering group following an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for each working group.

Further information about working group EOI processes and Terms of Reference will be added below as each of the groups are established.


EOI open: Models of care – paediatric working group.

The needs of tamariki (children) and rangatahi (adolescents and young adults) are unique and often quite different from those of adults receiving palliative care. That is why we are establishing the models of care - paediatric as one of the first working groups.

The Models of care - paediatric working group Expression of Interest (EOI) and draft Terms of Reference are available below. 

Expressions of Interest to join the Models of care -paediatric working group open 14 September 2023.  Applications close Friday 29 September.


If you would like to contact the Te Whatu Ora palliative care team or join our stakeholder list to receive email updates on our national palliative care work programme, email us.