Health Minister Andrew Little today confirmed jobs would go in the proposed district health board shake-up.
Little told The AM Show said the creation of a national health service would see managerial roles axed that were currently duplicated across the country's 20 health boards.
He highlighted two non-medical roles as an example of jobs likely to disappear when the health boards are abolished by June 30 next year.
"When you're chunking down 20 DHBs into one single national organisation you don't need 20 chief IT managers, you don't need 20 chief HR managers, so there will be some roles and positions that will go," Little told The AM Show.
"But the frontline health workers, they will stay because we're actually short of those at the moment."
He said the new structures would see a need for new health leaders at the helm to drive a culture change in a fractured sector.
While the district health boards had largely "done a good job" for the first 10 years of their existence, more recently they had failed to communicate with each other, leading to major problems when it came to patients needing treatment at different hospitals.
It had led to a "big bureaucratic mess", with Little promising the creation of Health New Zealand, a centralised Crown entity, giving the same level of patient care throughout the country, no matter where treatment was sought.
Protocols would be drawn up to standardise patients seeking treatment in public hospitals. This would lead to positive changes in the sector, he said.
"What we have a better chance of doing now is right across the network every hospital being managed having the same set of protocols, standards, better resource distribution and we have a better chance of alleviating problems turning up at ED," he said.
"People are ready for it. People know that the present system isn't working well, particularly for patients, so I think there's a readiness to want to make the change."
He was confident it would make "a real difference".