Review of the National Mortality Review Programme concludes

27 Nov 2013

In 2011, the Health Quality & Safety Commission inherited statutory responsibility for New Zealand’s national mortality review. Its operational structure was made up of four national mortality review committees (MRCs):

  • Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee
  • Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee
  • Family Violence Death Review Committee
  • Perioperative Mortality Review Committee

The four MRCs developed largely independently of one another, with separate audiences, goals, work plans and resourcing.

The Commission was tasked with bringing together the four MRCs to develop a cohesive and efficient National Mortality Review Programme (NMRP) and with ensuring its continuing success.

The Commission contracted independent consultants MartinJenkins to undertake a review in 2012, to consider how to strengthen mortality review to improve outcomes, increase sustainability and deliver a more coherent and cooperative programme for New Zealand.

MartinJenkins advised that the mortality review committees were each operating well, with good sector support and delivering positive outcomes within their areas. However, improvements in integration of operational work and cohesiveness at governance level would improve sustainability and efficiency.

MartinJenkins provided their Report (Review of the National Mortality Review Programme, available on the link below) to the Board in April 2013.

Additional advice and analysis was required by the Board to fully understand the implications of work proposed on existing work programmes and plans, before decisions could be made. Additional information has been provided to the Board since April 2013.

In July 2013, the Board agreed that a regular MRC chairs’ forum was to be initiated, chaired by Commission Board member Dr Dale Bramley.

The first MRC chairs’ forum took place in early August and advice was sought on recommendations made in the MartinJenkins Report. As a result of the MRC chairs’ advice and with their support, on 30 August 2013, the Board agreed to reallocate resource within the NMRP, to ensure that key development work to benefit the NMRP can be progressed. This work is to include:

  • review of national data collection and storage, aimed at providing advice on sustainable improvement and expansion to meet the growing data and information needs of the committees
  • analysis of local level review practice, aimed at providing advice on improvement and sustainability across the NMRP
  • improving the opportunities for Māori input and advice, by increasing resourcing for the Māori Caucus over time.

For further information, please email Shelley Hanifan (Manager, Mortality Review) on

Last updated 27/11/2013