Better involvement of and collaboration with others

What we’re aiming for

We want to be a trusted, respected and well-connected partner in the health and disability system, with a strong focus on embracing diversity and being inclusive. We want to be better informed by a wide range of views, and for our decisions to be trusted and understood, along with sharing other information and insights to assist and support others. Our own effectiveness also critically hinges on the roles of others, such as Medsafe and healthcare professionals, and how decisions are communicated to consumers and the public. By better involving and collaborating with others, we can strengthen alignment and coordination across the safety, funding, prescribing, dispensing, and use of medicines and medical devices – leading to more seamless (‘one system’) services for health and disability consumers. 

Where we’re currently at

Pharmac has extensive involvement and interaction with a wide range of organisations and stakeholders to carry out its work. Our challenge now is to improve the effectiveness of how we involve and collaborate with others.

Alongside extensive work with others, we obtain significant input via our expert advisory network. Across PTAC, CAC, Te Rōpū Māori, Responsible Use Advisory Group (RUAG) and Strategic Medical Devices Advisory Group (SMDAG) we benefit from the views from a wide range of experts and people from right across New Zealand with diverse experiences, connections and backgrounds. We learn a lot from these important voices across our work. We are grateful for their contribution and want to ensure we keep improving how we support this network, and how they best support us ahead.

The review, including the summary of submissions, gave a comprehensive overview of stakeholders’ perspectives of Pharmac and its work, including from industry groups, academics, suppliers, clinicians, patients and consumer groups. We acknowledge their views and thank everyone involved for openly sharing perspectives. We are keen to explore new ideas and ways of working and look forward to engagement ahead. 

As we look to make improvements ahead, we are building on several initiatives that occurred during 2021/22. These included:

  • Working with a Māori communications provider to increase awareness of newly funded diabetes medicines amongst Māori and Pacific peoples through the ‘You are a Priority’ campaign
  • Continuously improving the Pharmaceutical Schedule, our most used online tool, based on feedback from users
  • Updating the terms of reference for PTAC, to provide for consumer involvement, and CAC, to enhance coverage of its work
  • Developing a formal complaints process to benefit from feedback and help inform ongoing improvement in our work
  • Delivery of internal seminars with external speakers focused on issues of importance for Pacific peoples
  • Ensuring high service standards in both timeliness and publication of responses to official information act requests. 

Actions and initiatives underway or commencing in 2022/23

With new system arrangements underway, our relationships and partnerships need to evolve. We will be prioritising connections with Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora. We will closely collaborate on key initiatives, such as our work managing vaccines and medical devices, and adjust how we work to help deliver an integrated health system.

More broadly, we want to improve opportunities for people and organisations to be involved in our work. Like any organisation, we need to make careful choices about priorities for engagement. We also, like others, recognise that even high-quality collaboration and engagement may, for some issues, result in divergent views given differences in roles and interests. There is always, though, much to be gained from genuinely understanding different contexts and viewpoints, and ensuring decisions are well-informed and well-explained.

It is important that we build strong connections with other organisations directly involved in the end-to-end processes for management of medicines and medical devices. To ensure our work has integrity, and best serves health consumers, our work must also be effectively integrated with the priorities and workflows of other key system players.

In addition to the above direction, to continue our progress during 2022/23 we will:

  • Participate in the cross-agency governance group for the immunisation system, to support better immunisation outcomes from alignment and connection of different roles
  • Identify the best ways to ensure the perspectives and experiences of disabled people are included in our work, including through discussion with Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People
  • Make consumer appointments to PTAC and some specialist advisory committees
  • Working with HQSC, identify how best to improve opportunities for consumers to input into our work, including to understand lived experience of people living with diseases
  • Explore a formal partnership with Te Aho a Te Kahu - Cancer Control Agency
  • Support and contribute to the development of a rare disorders strategy by Manatū Hauora. 

Further work and considerations for our full response in October

As noted in the assessment priority area, with further resource we would ideally like to publish summaries of our funding assessments and decisions – to be more impactful for stakeholders in communicating our decisions and rationale. 

Consumer involvement and lived experience

The Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC) has an important leadership role for consumer involvement in the health system. We have supported their code of expectations and need to further consider the implications of the code for our own work. The ‘consumer forum’ also has high potential for obtaining consumer views and understanding lived experience for disease, treatment and support areas. We will progress discussions with HQSC on both the application of its code and how best we can make use of the consumer forum. As noted above, we will also further consider how best to embody the lived experience of health consumers in our work. 

Continued collaboration on medical devices work

Our work to build, maintain and manage a national list of hospital medical devices continues. This has always been a collaborative effort requiring wide-ranging input from public hospitals, suppliers and a range of other organisations. The Strategic Medical Devices Advisory Group (SMDAG), originally established under DHB structures and comprising senior DHB leaders, continues to provide advice on our devices work, including about approaches to wider collaboration.

We look forward to collaborating with other national roles and groups under Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora, Whaikaha and HQSC to further develop fit-for-purpose processes and frameworks for devices that are integrated into the new health and disability system. Key areas of collaboration include prioritisation and decision-making processes, clinical equipment, scope, expert advice frameworks, health technology assessment, and contract and supply management.