The Health Specialist Visits (HSV) programme was a Tripartite Arrangement between MFAT, the Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) and MOH. It is now under general budget support funding envelope between MFAT and MFEM. The HSV programme is the successor to the Medical Treatment Scheme (MTS). The MTS operated for more than 30 years and was utilized primarily for referring patients to health services in New Zealand. HSV has evolved into a broader programme that enables the mobilization and delivery of specialist health services (primarily tertiary level) within the Cook Islands. HSV has an emphasis on: capability and skill development; strengthening clinical networks; increasing access to specialist advice; and developing specialist clinical capacity within the Cook Islands.
The HSV was designed to contribute to the goal of the Cook Islands Health Strategy: “All Cook Islanders living healthier lives and achieving their aspirations” and complements the MOH mission statement “to provide accessible and affordable healthcare of the highest quality by and for all, in order to improve the health status of the people of the Cook Islands” which is aligned and in harmony with the NSDP and other regional and global development goals.
The HSV operates within the wider context of New Zealand’s Pacific health strategy which recognises that there is an inter-relationship between poverty and ill-health. “Without healthy men, women and children, a productive workforce and a strong economy are difficult to achieve”. While the Health Strategy gives priority to supporting the development of primary and public healthcare services that can have the greatest direct impact on early or premature deaths, New Zealand is also conscious that high quality secondary and tertiary care and treatment services can release the health burden from individuals and health services. The ability to provide a curative function or reduce disability and dependence is a major consideration for improving access to services.
The current HSV area specifics are: (1) Specialist Health Services, (2) Improved Primary Care Services, (3) Continuing Professional Development and Long Distance Patient Health Clinics.
Below is a list of Health Specialist visit to the Cook Islands