Medical Council News - December 2020

Media releases

Ki te kotahi te kākaho, ka whati. Ki te kāpuia, e kore te whati.

For the final MCNZ News of the year, a reflection that by standing together in 2020, we have stood strong in the face of enormous challenges. Not only is this applicable to the global COVID-19 pandemic, but equally so in remembrance of the Christchurch mosque attacks, and the Whakaari eruption. In observing a minute's silence during our Council meeting last week, we not only pay respects to those who have passed, and those who have survived the tragedies, but also to the many first responders and healthcare providers who have tended to the sick and injured. Rātou ki a rātou, tātou ki a tatou. Huri noa ki te Ao mārama.

A lot has happened since our last Medical Council News, with the formation of a new Government, new ministers of health, the End of Life Choice ‘yes’ vote and more.

New government, new agenda for health

Shortly after his appointment, we briefed the new Minister of Health, Hon Andrew Little, on Council’s priorities and areas of our work that may support the Government to deliver their health strategy over the next few years.

The government campaigned on a long-term programme of health system reform, having commissioned the Health and Disability System Review. The Government has signalled a reduction in the number of DHBs, an increased focus on health equity, a Māori Health Authority, an aged care commissioner, and a Public Health Agency that will more closely link the country’s 12 public health units. Council can make a significant contribution to many of these areas, shaping the future of medical care to meet the needs of our communities, with our primary focus being on public health and safety.

We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health on areas such as achieving health equity, the ongoing COVID-19 response, the training of interns to ensure a better understanding of how care is delivered in the community, and setting standards so that doctors continue to provide excellent care to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Ministry will also be conducting reviews of all Responsible Authorities over the next couple of years, in accordance with the 2019 revisions to the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act. Our Council is reviewing all aspects of our operations to ensure they are meeting the needs of the public and the profession in preparation for our review in mid-2021.

The profession, public & Council

As part of our accountability to the profession and public, we will be prioritising and refreshing how we communicate with you through 2021. This will include an increased digital presence and new media explaining our statements, standards and processes. I am excited by what the team are planning.

Finally, and most importantly – thank you for another year of dedication, service and compassion as a profession. I wish you all some quality down time with friends and whānau in order to recharge and restore, and look forward to 2021 with energy and optimism.

Also in this issue:

Please click on either the article links above, or the generic link below to read the newsletter:

Medical Council News - December 2020

I value any thoughts or comments you have on the topics covered in this issue. You can email these to me at

Noho ora mai

Dr Curtis Walker
Medical Council of New Zealand