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 in 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 for System Delivery, 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 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 are expected to be established around the middle of this year and will involve transitioning the existing cardiac, stroke, renal and trauma networks.

Further networks will be established over the following 12 months.


Current Expressions of Interest

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the co-lead roles for the first four networks were opened on June 29 and were initially to remain open for three weeks. That date has been extended a week and this EOI process will remain open until midnight 26 July. Further EOI processes will follow.

Access the EOI and the Draft Job Descriptions for the cardiac, stroke, renal and trauma co-lead roles:

Read more about the plans in this document.

Further information

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