Wellington DHBs have reacted to the news of the biggest health system shake-up in a generation, which will see their structure changed significantly from July next year.
New Zealand's 20 district health boards (DHBs) will be replaced by one national body, Health New Zealand, alongside a Māori health authority.
Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs issued a joint statement through board chair David Smol shortly after the announcement on Wednesday.
"Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs will work closely with the Government on the implementation of these changes and will continue to work collaboratively as we transition towards the new structure and system," he said.
"In the meantime, we remain focused on providing excellent levels of healthcare and support for the people in our region — people, place, and partnership remain at the heart of what we do.
"We remain committed to intensifying support and improving equitable health outcomes for Māori, Pacific people and those living with disability, mental illness and addiction."
Wairarapa DHB Chief Executive Dale Oliff said their "absolute priority" was the health of their community as they transitioned to a new structure.
"We will ensure continuity of care and service and we will support our highly valued staff and healthcare partners, and our community, as we work towards a stronger health and disability system," he said.
"It will take time to transition towards the new structure and, in the meantime, our commitment to improved services and equitable outcomes of care for our Wairarapa population is central to all that we do."
The major changes were announced by Health Minister Andrew Little on Wednesday morning, following on from recommendations made by the Heather Simpson Health and Disability Systems Review last year.
The changes also included that the Ministry of Health become an advisory and policy agency only, with a new Public Health agency created within the ministry.
Today's announcement goes further than the recommendations made in last year's Simpson report, which only advised the number of DHBs be halved from 20 down to eight or 10.
Porirua GP Dr Bryan Betty, who is also the head of the Royal New Zealand College of GPs, said the scrapping of the DHB system was "totally unexpected".
"It's very, very significant what's been announced, particularly the abolition of DHBs across New Zealand."
He hoped the move would address the existing inequities in the DHB-based system.
"We know over time the system has become inequitable in the way it operates, it depends on where you live which gives access to health care.
"So if this reform changes that and makes the delivery of health care more equitable across New Zealand, then it's certainly the right thing to do."
He said the changes also needed to address generations of inequitable health outcomes for Māori.
"New Zealand has to do something about the appalling statistics we have in this country, and if this delivers on the ability to rectify these statistics, that is the right thing to do."
Manpower within the primary sector and access to secondary and hospital care were also areas of concern.
"We know we have issues with manpower, general practitioners have a workplace crisis at this point. We know there are difficulties in the system in terms of accessing secondary care, the way community care operates with hospitals.
"All those problems need to be fixed going forward so people can get fair equitable access to healthcare in the community and through the hospital system."