Equity core feature of  new health and disability services standard

30 days ago
By: Daphne Atkinson

A stronger focus on equity and supporting health providers to meet their Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligation are the hallmarks of the newly developed Ngā Paerewa Health and Disability Services standard (NZS 8134:2021 Health and disability services)

Developed in partnership between the Ministry of Health and Standards New Zealand, the Standard consolidates four individual standards from across four services - fertility, abortion, home and community, and health and disability services. The Standards will take effect from 2022.

NZSA CEO Michele Thomas, who is an experienced health auditor, attended a debrief meeting about the new standards, which she says play an essential role to ensure providers are delivering safe, quality health and disability services.

“It was really positive to see that the standards epitomise collaboration. They were developed by the sector, for the sector. The big shift has been to develop standards that are culturally responsive and able to meet Treaty principles and obligations – essential if we are to address the challenge of improving health equity.”

The principles guiding the review were:

  • Achieving Māori health equity
  • Accessible health and disability services
  • Partners with choice and control
  • Best practice through collaboration
  • Standards that increase positive life outcomes

The initial consultation was overseen by the Ministry of Health and involved over 300 people and organisations collaborating at workshops and across working groups. Public consultation followed, with input from health providers, iwi, people and whānau with lived experience of H & D services, government departments, consumer organisations, professional associations, DHBs, academia, and auditing agencies.

Michele commends the updated standards for seeking to better reflect the services that are offered today, and to meet the needs of those it impacts, from the people using the services to the providers. She feels that a good balance has been struck in developing standards that are also flexible and able to be adapted to allow for changing models of care.

“Ultimately, we need the new standards to have longevity and to be sustainable.”

The updated standard will come into effect on 28 February 2022, which allows six months for the 650 different service providers to prepare for compliance. MOH is running hui and offering resources to help the sector understand what the updates in the standard mean for them, as well as raising public awareness of the standard.