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Involving clinicians in planning and management discussions and decisions is essential to improving services. Northland DHB’s
clinicians form an integral part of our management structure and processes and are closely involved in regional planning processes.
A number of clinical governance groups have been established by Northland DHB to improve systems and quality of care and involves clinicians from both Northland DHB and the NGO sector.


Clinical leadership has been a strong feature of the development of the Northern Regional Health Plan, which aims to improve population health, patient experience and cost/productivity.

The plan states that achieving these aims implies:
  • Health professionals leading the planning process
  • Trust and respect among health professionals supporting interdisciplinary and inter-organisation collaboration
  • Multidisciplinary patient focused teams with alignment of expertise, capabilities, availability, desired outcomes
  • Strong clinical governance and clear accountability to deliver quality healthcare
  • Development of leadership capability to ensure effective utilisation of scarce resources.
The plan’s three priority goals (first do no harm, informed patient, life and years) have been informed by numerous workstreams, all of which have strong clinical leadership and involvement. Clinicians will design and lead the campaigns which will form the focus of future activity for many of the workstream areas.

In the future, the plan promises that clinical leaders will be given stronger mandates to shape and deliver services in partnership with management. Accountability for delivering on the plan will naturally rest with chief executives and chief medical officers / advisors, but accountable to them is a Regional Clinical Governance Group which will have oversight of the direction and implementation of the three strategic goals, service planning and relevant business planning.

To support the ongoing development and implementation of the Regional Health Plan, clinical leaders from Northland, including primary and secondary services, will participate in regional clinical networks and regional working parties and committees.


The Government wants better, sooner, more convenient healthcare for all New Zealanders. This means strong priority is given to improving healthcare services within available resources, greater integration of services across primary and secondary and designing new models of care reflecting the continuum of care.

To encourage and support clinical networks with clinicians, the district health board has refocused its clinical frameworks:
  • Medical Executive Leadership Team (MELT)
    As a senior medical leadership forum, the medical executive leadership team has oversight of medical workforce issues, quality and safety frameworks and ongoing review of medical leadership structures.  Key tasks include some inter-departmental case reviews, use of clinical indicators and audit, participation in benchmarking activities with Health Roundtable. Chaired by the Northland DHB chief medical officer, membership includes clinical directors and clinical heads of department.
  • Nurse Executive Advancement Team (NEAT)
    The nurse executive advancement team provides strategic and operational nursing leadership across Te Tai Tokerau, Northland ensuring safe and competent nursing practice that contributes to effective health outcomes for the population we serve. The aim of the team is to encourage promotion of evidenced-based practice, quality improvement initiatives, workforce development and implementation of innovative models of service delivery across the continuum of care. Chaired by the Northland DHB director of nursing, membership includes nursing and midwifery representatives from across Northland DHB and primary healthcare.
  • Allied Health Advisors (AHA)
    This group comprises the professional advisors of all the allied health professions. The group reports directly to the chief executive. A chair and appropriate representatives for specific forums such as the regional clinical leadership meetings are
    elected each year by group members. Support is provided by Northland DHB’s chronic and complex care service.  The role of the group includes:
    • To effectively represent allied health within Northland DHB
    • A forum to discuss issues of common interest
    • Provide advice to senior management and others on allied health issues
    • Implement policies
    • Advocate on allied health issues.

These clinical networks provide clinical advice to Northland DHB’s senior management group, made up of clinicians and management,
Northland DHB’s executive leadership team and chief executive.

Te Tai Tokerau Alliance for Health Project

Healthcare providers in Northland have risen to the challenge of providing better, sooner, more convenient healthcare through the establishment of an alliance partnership with the district health board, PHOs and Maori leadership, launching the Te Tai Tokerau Alliance for Health Project.

The partnership’s principal objective is to reduce inequality and improve the health and wellbeing of all Northlanders. The project is seen as a new way of working to achieve real change in the delivery of healthcare in the region, enabling a move to closer integration of services across hospitals and the community.

An alliance leadership team has been chosen to lead the joint decision making with regard to the implementation of individual alliance programmes.  To learn more about the team, meeting minutes, regular communication updates and a copy of the Alliance Charter can be found at this link

The first alliance programme will target 0-5 year-olds within Northland with a focus, but not limited to immunisation, registration, well child, safety and lifestyle intervention. A second alliance programme will target diabetes. Other alliance programmes covering different areas will be identified as work progresses.

For more information about Te Tai Tokerau Alliance for Health contact Kathryn de Luc, BSMC Primary Care Project Coordinator on mobile 021 863 258 or email her direct at

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