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Issue: December 2019


New Zealand Health survey published

The Ministry of Health published all results from the 2018/19 New Zealand Health Survey, including the key Tier 1 indicators and about 160 other indicators.

This survey provides information on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders and helps the Ministry and others to identify key issues and monitor trends.

Findings have been published on the Annual Data Explorer, an interactive web tool on the Ministry’s website.

The statistics are based on face-to-face interviews with about 14,000 adults, and the parents or primary caregivers of more than 4,000 children.

A news article on the Ministry’s website gives some of the findings’ highlights and challenges.


Cancer Control Agency

The new independent Cancer Control Agency formally opened on 3 December 2019 at the Ministry. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting the Agency.

Improving cancer survival rates in New Zealand is a long term challenge that the Agency will play a big part in helping to turn around.

Diana Sarfati has been appointed by the State Services Commission as interim Chief Executive to lead the Agency. She has spent the past three months laying the ground work for the Agency as interim National Director of Cancer Control. She will bring the same skill, dedication and depth of knowledge to her new role.

View the media release on the Beehive website: Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care


Suicide Prevention Office

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health Dr David Clark visited the Ministry on Wednesday 27 November to mark the Office’s opening and launch a community suicide prevention fund for Māori and Pacific people. The establishment of this Office is one of the key actions from the Government’s Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, He Ara Oranga.

They announced a $12 million Māori and Pacific suicide prevention community fund. Over the next four years this will be used to support Māori and Pacific providers to design and deliver culturally responsive suicide prevention initiatives.

The Office will be leading the implementation of the Every Life Matters – Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan

The Office will initially be established as a team within the Ministry’s Mental Health and Addiction Directorate and is led by Director, Carla na Nagara.

Read the media release on the Beehive Website.


Celebrating 50 years of newborn screening

In 1969, New Zealand became one of the first countries in the world to offer newborn metabolic screening, or the ‘heel prick/Guthrie test’ nationwide. With this test, metabolic conditions can be diagnosed in the first few days of a baby’s life so that treatment can start straight away, before life-threatening illness or developmental delays occur.

Fifty years on and the programme has gone on to become one of the most successful screening programmes in New Zealand and the world.

This milestone was celebrated at Parliament's Grand Hall on 12 December during which Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter acknowledged the significant impact the programme has had over 50 years and thanked all those involved in its ongoing delivery.

During the celebration, six video stories of the real difference metabolic screening has made to the lives of New Zealand families had their first showing. These moving stories are available to view and share.


The future is here … chatbots, big data, virtual consultations, eMental Health and more

The recent HiNZ (Health Informatics NZ) conference held in November was the largest digital health event of the year. Over 1400 delegates, 350 presenters and 126 exhibitors converged in Hamilton to hear about chatbots, big data, virtual consultations, eMental Health, cyber security, AI, digital transformation and more.

The conference opened with a profound and moving keynote; a first-hand account of a person with a lived experience of disability. Terry Lee recounted his challenging journey after an Australian bushfire left him a double amputee.

This keynote set the scene for how inclusive technology can radically improve outcomes for people living with disability and give them a renewed sense of purpose.


Healthy Ageing Strategy

The Healthy Ageing Strategy has moved into its second phase following positive results over its first two years.

The Ministry of Health, which developed the Strategy in collaboration with the sector and consumers, has been working with district health boards and other agencies to identify which of the Strategy's actions would be priorities for the next implementation phase to help ensure people live well, age well and have a respectful end of life in age-friendly communities.

The focus of this second phase, which has 35 priority actions, is to ensure the systems to deliver support to older people are more integrated and accessible to all who need it and more proactive in addressing inequities in access and design of services to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations.

Read more about goals of the Healthy Ageing Strategy and priority actions for 2019 - 2022.


Bringing death, burials, cremation, and funerals into the 21st century

Consultation has opened to modernise legislation written more than 50 years ago relating to death, burials, cremation and funerals.

The Ministry is contacting a range of industry and other interested stakeholders to gain robust feedback. We expect to receive feedback in a number of ways this will include holding face to face meetings, and communication via email.

We encourage you to learn more about what’s being proposed, provide feedback, and let your friends and whanau know about it too.

To access the full consultation document and provide feedback, please visit the Ministry of Health’s Consultation Hub: Death, Funerals, Burial and Cremation: a Review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and Related Legislation.

Public consultation on the proposed options closes on 28 February 2020.


Understanding digital literacy for health and disability providers

Health care professionals need digital literacy to do their work safely and effectively. While other aspects of the health profession use traditional education models, we don’t currently have a formal training system or recognised titles for digital qualifications.

We want to understand how the health and disability sector has incorporated digital tools and platforms; what people already know; and what they feel they lack. Digital expertise can take many forms, so we want to hear from everyone. You don’t have to be a coder.

Please circulate this survey with your networks in the health and disability sector: Understanding digital literacy for health and disability providers in New Zealand.

This consultation closes on 20 December 2019.


Latest news on our website

Report highlights severity of harm from surgical mesh

Medicines Classification Committee releases latest meeting minutes

Nurses in New Zealand set to celebrate 2020 International Year of the Nurse

New framework to drive health research

Migraine Treatment Being Phased Out

Together we can keep antibiotics working

Ministry continuing surgical mesh work following strong response to restorative justice process


Latest publications and resources

New Zealand Obstetric Ultrasound Guidelines

New cancer registrations 2017

Hearing and Responding to the Stories of Survivors of Surgical Mesh

Methodology Report 2018/19: New Zealand Health Survey

Suicide Facts: Data tables 1996−2016

Fetal and Infant Deaths 2016

Annual Update of Key Results 2018/19: New Zealand Health Survey

Death, Funerals, Burial and Cremation: a Review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and Related Legislation

Independent Assurance Review for the National Bowel Screening Programme

Review of the Ministry of Health Pacific Provider Development Fund 2018

Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2019



Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) Action Plan (closes 13 December 2019)

Draft revisions to the Guidelines to the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 (17 January 2020)

Well Child Tamariki Ora Review online feedback (closes 20 January 2020)

Proposed changes to paracetamol warning and advisory statements (closes 31 January 2020)

Death, Funerals, Burial and Cremation: a Review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and Related Legislation (closes 28 February 2020)


Ministry of Health summer close-down dates

The end of the year is fast approaching and as in previous years the Ministry will close down over the period between Christmas and the New Year. 

Ministry offices will close down at the end of the day Friday, 20 December 2019 and reopen Monday, 6 January 2020.


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Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora
PO Box 5013
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

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