Maori Health Providers Face Challenges

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Maori health providers face challenges in delivering integrated services, according to a research study.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia released the report today, saying its finding will provide useful information as the Government’s Whanua Ora initiative gets into full swing.

Whanau Ora is a Maori Party initiative designed to bring together all the agencies involved in family support and deliver it more effectively.

The study, which started in January, looked at how Maori health providers deliver integrated services across health and other sectors.

“The strong links that Maori providers have with communities put them in a unique position to respond directly to their needs and realities,” Mrs Turia said.

In the report, the providers expressed a desire to give integrated “seamless, but coordinated” services to improve the health of whanau.

But they said there would be challenges ahead, such as aligning policy, and delivery of government services with providers working for the needs of whanau.

Another challenge lies in making a paradigm shift from delivering “whanau-related” services to taking a more purposeful “whanau-centred” approached.

“Moving provisions from ‘doing it to whanau’ to ‘whanau doing it for themselves’ requires a shift in mindset for all committed to improving the wellbeing of whanau,” the report said.

The providers identified other challenges for the health and social sectors:

  • how whanau views and perspectives are embedded in the design and delivery of services,
  • how decisions are implemented at a local level,
  • how different services collaborate together;
  • and what additional support might be necessary to implement integrated services delivery.

Mrs Turia said the providers know the importance of delivering clinically sound and culturally competent services.

“Compromising one for another is not an option. Safe and effective clinical and cultural standards must be evident in an integrated and whanau-centred organisation,” Mrs Turia said.

The study, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, surveyed six Maori health providers – He Oranga Pounamu (Christchurch), Ngati Porou Hauora (Te Puia Springs), Ora Toa Health Services (Porirua), Raukura Hauora o Tainui (Waikato), Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority (Whanganui) and Tui Ora Ltd (Taranaki).

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