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Rob Campbell outlines the problems with the health system and what needs to change

Empower separate emergency executive leaderships for hospitals, says Rob Campbell. Photo / Getty Images

Former Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ) chair Rob Campbell addressed a New Zealand Women in Health gathering on Friday night where 90 clinical health professionals from around Aotearoa heard him speak.


My topic tonight is “The Health Services Emergency”

Thank you for the opportunity to be with you this evening. Given that over 80 per cent of the quarter million or so people working in the healthcare sector are women I am taking the liberty of speaking to you as representing the whole workforce. I am not sure that has always been the case in policy or practice but let’s start a new tradition.


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It is opportune to be talking about the immediate future of the healthcare sector and the emergency it faces. I deliberately move on to the description “emergency” because the term “crisis” has become so worn in political discussion. It has come, perhaps lead by the “climate crisis”, to carry with it a connotation of longevity, helplessness and inaction.

Emergency seems to carry with it a higher call to action. That is what health services need now.

Health Minister Ayesha Verrall. Photo / Warren Buckland
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall. Photo / Warren Buckland

I had an email today from the Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall which I will read to you:

“Dear Rob, I hope that you are willing to put our little misunderstanding behind us. Things in the sector are very bad. I think it may even be an emergency though the Ministry continues to insist that everything is fine. Would you be willing to come back as my “independent health emergency advisor”? Not much point in rejoining the board which has little influence and Peter Hughes will not let you back into the public

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