Teens to get dedicated unit under new Health NZ authority

Teens are going to get their own dedicated unit in the massive shake up of the health system so they do not fall between the cracks of adult and child health.

A medical professional takes notes while talking to a female patient.

Photo: 123RF

More details are emerging about how Health New Zealand will be structured as it replaces the 20 district health boards from July.

One of them is the creation of the adolescent health unit to guide care for young people.

Associate nursing professor at Auckland University and adolescent specialist Terryann Clark said teens often fitted awkwardly into the health system as it was now.

Sometimes they suited neither the child model of care nor the adult services, and that could be frustrating for both the young people and the staff caring for them, she said.

“A dedicated service which is really honouring young people, their preferences and their needs is a wonderful idea,” she said.

The new unit was just one of the latest changes signalled by the new chief executive of Health NZ Fepulea’i Margie Apa.

Apa has been creating the agency’s new structure – bringing 20 big bureaucracies into one giant one – but change will be slow.

No caption

Margie Apa says patients and frontline workers will notice very little difference on day one when Health NZ officially takes over. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Even though Health NZ officially takes over on 1 July, the district health board bosses will keep their jobs until the end of September.

Apa said that was to help keep things running smoothly at the grass roots.

Patients would notice very little difference on day one, their normal care would continue, and it would be the same for frontline workers, she said.

“They’ll have the same boss, they’ll have to work the same shifts that they’re rostered on, so that won’t change,” she said.

The early structure for the new organisation has now been set up and the jobs at the very top of it are being advertised.

There was disagreement about which professions should be represented at the very top table.

Midwives are annoyed there will be no dedicated clinical head of midwifery and they will instead be lumped together with nurses.

College of Midwives chief executive Alison Eddy said many DHBs had midwifery leaders so the move was a step backwards.

“When we’re tagged on as an add-on … midwifery simply doesn’t get a look in because there is more than enough work to do at a leadership level just to address nursing needs,” she said.

They had written to ask Apa to make a change so problems like the massive shortage of midwives could be taken seriously, she said.

Apa said she would consider it but had to try not to make upper management too big.

The structure of Health NZ would be padded out over the coming months.

From October DHB bosses will be gone, although some will likely stay on as chief executives of the hospitals.

The hospital bosses will be answerable directly to Health NZ, which will provide health services but be divided into four big regional groups to keep things manageable.

Smaller locality groups will sit below them to try to make sure unique communities get the services they need.

The Māori Health Authority is also recruiting its top jobs.

The authority will be in charge of running some health services but also provide advice and act as a kind of watchdog to Health NZ.

The Ministry of Health will still exist to set policy and provide advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like