We know that the way healthcare is arranged and delivered is important to people and influences their health outcomes.

Planned Care provides a platform for improving the way healthcare resources are designed and delivered.

It is also about creating a system that is easy for consumers to access and use and helps them to manage their healthcare needs and stay as healthy as possible.

Planned Care reflects a new direction for publicly-funded healthcare in New Zealand. 

It is about providing services based on clinical need and people’s preferences to achieve better health outcomes, within the resources available, in a timely and respectful way.

Planned Care aims to consider medical and surgical activity in a way that is not limited to hospital settings or groups of health professionals.

Rather than supporting just hospital-based care, Planned Care refers to services delivered in the most appropriate setting, by the most appropriate person, based on a person’s clinical needs.

Planned Care generally begins from the point a person is referred for specialised care from their primary care provider or other health professional. 

It includes more than just hospital-based care and admissions, and covers all appointments and support that people need during their healthcare journey.

New Zealand’s health system is funded by the taxpayer. There are limits to how much free treatment can be provided.

Demand for Planned Care services is increasing for a number of reasons, including both the increasing size of our ageing population and new technologies that mean more types of treatments are available.

Hospitals are working hard to meet the needs of their populations and to design services that ensure resources are used as efficiently as possible.

The Planned Care vision is that ‘New Zealanders experience timely, appropriate access to quality Planned Care which achieves equitable health outcomes’.

Planned Care services will be provided in a way which:

  • meets the population’s health needs to a reasonable level
  • provides the best possible health gain to individuals and to New Zealand as a whole
  • gives priority to people who need and will benefit from treatment the most
  • respects people’s privacy, individuality and dignity and their wishes to be well-informed and treated fairly
  • is regularly evaluated and improved on 
  • is well-integrated with other health services where appropriate


The principles of Planned Care include:

  • Equity – You’ll get the healthcare that safely meets your needs, regardless of who you are or where you are.
  • Access – You can access the care you need in the right place, with the right health provider.
  • Quality – Services are appropriate, safe, effective, efficient, respectful and support improved health.
  • Timeliness – You will receive care at the most appropriate time to support improved health and minimise ill-health, discomfort and distress.
  • Experience – You and your whanau work in partnership with healthcare providers to make informed choices and get care that responds to your needs, rights and preferences.


The five strategic priorities for Planned Care are:

  • Understanding health need – in terms of access to services and health preferences, with a focus on understanding inequities that we can change
  • Balancing national consistency and local context – ensuring consistently excellent care, regardless of where you are or where you are treated
  • Simplifying pathways for service users – providing a seamless health journey, with a focus on providing person-centred care in the most appropriate setting
  • Optimising sector capacity and capability – optimising capacity, reducing demand on hospital services and intervening at the most appropriate time
  • Fit for the future – planning and implementing system support for long term funding, performance and improvement.