New Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman and Associate Minister of Health Sam Lotu Iiga have re-discovered the idea of having a strategy and all of a sudden both the NZ Health Strategy and the Health of Older People Strategy are being reviewed and revised.
The draft Health Strategy is now due to be released later in 2015 (not end of June as previously advised) and there will be opportunity for public comment after that, so keep an eye out for further announcements about this.
After appearing dead and buried under the National Government, the Health of Older People Strategy launched in 2002 is being re-visited and the Ministry of Health Older Peoples Health team are seeking public input into the development of the new strategy. The Ministry is due present a draft strategy to the Minister by the end of the year and they have now extended the time for making comments to 31st October 2015.
An obvious question to ask about the previous strategy is “what did it achieve?” No evaluation of the Strategy was ever completed or published although in 2010 the Hope Foundation published an evaluation of progress of the strategy by researcher Sarah Hood. The Ministerial Review Group (Horn Report) into health in 2009 noted that the objectives of the HOP Strategy had not been achieved by DHBs during the term of the Strategy (to 2010). But, as the Hope Foundation report points out, the need to develop planning and strategy across all DHBs, the piloting and testing of new models of care and support and developing collaborative ways of working all takes time, especially for the magnitude of change envisaged in the HOP Strategy.
The Horn report reiterated the twin goals of the HOP Strategy of better services to support older people to remain in their homes and a wider and more integrated continuum of care. Five years later in 2015 it is a good time to ask how much further progress has been made and what the direction should be for health of older people over the next 10 years.