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Review of the national mortality review function

The Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) has commissioned an independent review of the national mortality review function


Proposals invited for independent review of national mortality review function

The Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) has commissioned an independent review of the national mortality review function. The review aims to reflect on whether the value and contribution that mortality review makes to system improvement in health and across government can be enhanced.

The Commission is undertaking an open procurement process for the review through the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS) reference number GETS Rfx ID 24520951. The request for proposals (RFP) will close on Wednesday 28 July 2021.

The current national mortality review programme has made significant contributions to knowledge about key issues within the five scope areas of its mortality review committees (MRCs). The MRCs have provided valuable focus, advice, and recommendations to drive improvement and are well known within their areas of expertise.

The review is timely because it coincides with the significant health reforms underway. It will consider the context and impact of the larger health and disability system transformation and the role of the Commission in the monitoring and support of quality care and how mortality review contributes to this.

A particular focus of the review is how the national mortality review function can give true effect to the Crown’s responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It must ensure that the function of mortality review places equity at the centre of quality; is able to drive and facilitate significant system- and service-level improvement; and more strongly centres on consumers and whānau.

The terms of reference for the review forms the basis of the tender document. The content has been developed by a steering group made up of current MRC chairs and members of Te Rōpū Māori (the Commission’s Māori advisory group to the Board). Members have broad expertise in Māori health and development as well as experience and understanding of mortality review systems.

We will update this web page as the review progresses.

Francis Health consortium contracted to deliver review of national mortality review function

The Health Quality & Safety Commission has awarded the contract for delivery of the ‘first principles’ review of the national mortality review function to Francis Health.

Francis Health is an internationally networked health and disability consultancy, delivering strategic planning, service design, service improvement, research and evaluation across Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

While the proposal was led by Francis Health, it is a collaboration of organisations and individuals who bring expertise, Māori partnership, sector relationships and successful track records relevant to delivering the review.

Rory Matthews, managing partner at Francis Health, expressed that, ‘We are excited by this opportunity to support the Commission with this work. Mortality reviews and outputs need to focus on ensuring responsibilities to Te Tiriti are embedded to reduce inequities that exist in preventable deaths; and understand the concept of death and mortality within a specific cultural context for Māori that is different to a Western view and acknowledge the sacredness and tapu of the event of death that Māori uphold.’

Francis Health aligned its proposal with the terms of reference for the review. The terms of reference were developed by a working group of current mortality review committee chairs and Te Rōpū, the Māori advisory group to the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s board.

A key focus running across the timeline of the review will be engagement with sector stakeholders through interviews and focus groups. These engagements will be designed to capture existing knowledge and gather views on current challenges and opportunities, as well as contributing to the design of a future blueprint for the mortality review function.

The initial timeline had the review being completed this calendar year, but has since been extended to 2022. We are conscious there is a considerable amount of pressure on the system at the moment and believe this extension is needed to ensure the required level of engagement, and therefore authenticity of the review report, in the context of equity for Māori and responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

As such, the substantive work of the mortality review committees will continue in 2022 while the review is completed and recommendations considered.

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Last updated: 21st December, 2021