Successful collaboration supports health and wellbeing of New Zealanders


A lively and engaging standards and accreditation seminar for health and disability sector agencies was held at MBIE’s Wellington offices on Wednesday 13 November.

It was jointly presented by IANZ, JAS-ANZ, Measurement Standards Laboratory (MSL), MBIE and Standards New Zealand. It explored how the regulation, international standards and accreditation community can work with the health and disability sector to minimise risk and help deliver positive health outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Below are the key points from each speaker. The full slide deck from all presenters is here: Presentation-for-seminar-series-Health-Disability.pdf

Alex Kay, Senior Policy Advisor, Trade and International, MBIE

Standards, conformity assessment and metrology together are known as New Zealand’s Quality Infrastructure (QI). This covers standards development and management, accreditation and conformity assessment, and measurement science, practice and calibration.

The goal of QI is quality assurance. Businesses use QI to open markets, improve sustainability, lift productivity and increase consumer confidence. It also provides consumers with information to help them choose the goods or services that best fit their needs. Governments use QI as a tool for the best possible public outcomes.

Natalie Bowie, Sector Engagement Lead, Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand came into being through an Act of Parliament. It is mandated to operate a cost recovery model. It looks to adopt international standards first before developing locally and it has an independent Board that approves the composition of local standards committees and the release of new and updated standards.

Health standards help ensure that individuals and communities receive the quality of care they deserve, by providing:

  • Consistency and efficiency, by not having multiple specifications
  • Tools to assess and evaluate conformity and a solid technical base for health legislation
  • Good quality care and safe and reliable products and services
  • Easier comparison of health services, the exchange of information and safeguarding the privacy of an individual’s health.

Annette Koo, Principal Research Scientist, Measurement Standards Laboratory

MSL’s role is to provide measurement standards in accordance with the International System of Units (SI). This enables good decisions to be made on the basis of good measurements. MSL sits at the top of the chain of quality measurements in New Zealand. 

When you are making higher risk decisions you need a good measurement standard and need to know the uncertainty of value you are getting. This lets you can assess the risk of your decision. The cost of calibration is very small compared with the cost of misdiagnosis.

Good measurements are fit for purpose and provide clear value and uncertainty levels so you can accurately assess risk. This is achieved via:

  • Well defined quantity; the international system of units
  • Reliable / suitable equipment
  • Calibration of equipment
  • Competency of users.

Kathryn Lockyer, General Manager Services, JAS-ANZ 

Risk is defined as a situation involving exposure to danger or the possibility of something bad happening.

Risk-based thinking is inherent in a number of certification standards. It provides a framework to identify potential areas of risk relevant to processes then identifies steps to eliminate potential areas of concern, or address events to ensure they don’t occur.

Certification allows you to demonstrate that your service meets requirements, helping mitigate risk. It can also support regulation

Sharon Thomas – Operations Manager Healthcare Programmes, IANZ

In a 2019 Gallup poll of most trusted professions 84% of respondents rated nurses top. 67% ranked medical doctors highly and 66% pharmacists. This reflection of the public’s trust in the medical profession highlights why it’s important to ensure the healthcare sector is safe and adequately provided.

IANZ’s role is to ensure providers deliver their services safely to the public of New Zealand, with a focus on technical competence.

Accreditation helps deliver:

  • Consistency in service provision
  • Technical competence
  • Reduction in errors
  • Reduction in risk
  • Safer services
  • Adherence to Government expectations.

Phil Barnes, General Manager, IANZ

Listen to Phil’s case study keynote address here:  Phil.mp3 (28 minutes).

Published in health.