NHC – New Zealand National Health Committee

new zealand_flag  Wellington, New Zealand

"The National Health Committee’s role is to assist the health and disability sector to spend its funding in the most effective way and enable it to continue to improve the health of New Zealanders within the country’s financial resources."


History and Structure

The National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability, also known as the National Health Committee (NHC), was established under sections 11 and 13 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 (the NZPHD Act) to provide independent advice to the Minister of Health.

In January 2009, the Government established a Ministerial Review Group (MRG) to advise on improving the quality and performance of the publicly funded health service.  The MRG released its report on 31 July 2009.  The report contained a number of recommendations designed to reduce bureaucracy, to improve frontline services, and to improve value in the public health and disability sector.

Cabinet recognised that the assessment of new and existing health technologies needed to be done by a specialist national body that would help to avoid duplication, capitalise on scarce assessment skills and apply a consistent and authoritative standard of assessment across New Zealand.

Accordingly, Cabinet accepted the MRG’s recommendation that the NHC should be refocused and reconfigured as a vehicle for strengthened prioritisation of new and existing technologies and interventions in the health and disability sector.

Members of the Committee come from a range of backgrounds and experiences representing both clinical and managerial perspectives, the view of Maori and both private and public healthcare provision.


The NHC’s objectives include contributing to improved value for money and fiscal sustainability in the health and disability sector by:

  • providing timely advice and recommendations about relative cost-effectiveness, based on the best available evidence, that influences the behaviour of decision-makers (including clinicians), and which are reflected in resource allocation.
  • contributing to tangible reductions in the use of ineffective interventions and improved targeting to those most likely to benefit.

How NHC Works

The NHC focuses on the highest priority areas.  In order to do this, the Committee is guided by the health sector through referral rounds in which proposals for new investments and disinvestment are submitted.  Interventions reviewed cover a range of specialties and are prioritized for further assessment by the Committee using specific decision-making criteria. The Committee is supported by an Executive team (the secretariat) that evaluates and synthesizes evidence on specific interventions across four domains: clinical safety & effectiveness, economic, societal & ethical considerations, and feasibility of adoption within the system.

The primary purpose of the Executive is to provide the Committee with sufficient information for them to prioritize interventions and make investment and disinvestment decisions.  They do this through a variety of product/tools which are chosen according to the nature of the decision required and the time-frame within which decisions need to be made.  The Committee is acutely aware that advice has to be timely if it is make an impact.  Given this, the product toolbox includes the use of narrative and rapid review methods, where searches for, and appraisal of, information is more constrained.  Systematic review is limited to key papers.

The Committee then uses this information to evaluate the proposal using their 11 decision-making criteria (which includes equity, materiality, and policy congruence among others) and makes a recommendation to the New Zealand Minister of Health.

Dissemination Activities

Each assessment is published in full on the NHC website and then disseminated to interested stakeholders.  Consumer summaries are an important part of the dissemination process and these are also available on the website http://nhc.health.govt.nz/home.

Current Projects

  • Screening for Hepatitis C
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)
  • Problem solving therapy (PST) for people that present to hospital with self-harm
  • Disinvestment/Re-assessment work stream
  • Development of a tool for Programme Budget Marginal Analysis (PBMA)

Future Plans

  • Continue developing our assessment methods and products
  • Facilitate innovation and assessment through trials/audits of current and new interventions through the innovation fund
  • Establish further national and international links with relevant healthcare organizations

Agency Information


Country: New Zealand
Description of population served: National
Population served (mil): 4.4
Current HTA budget (mil USD): 2.5 (exchange rate at 11/10/12)
Permanent staff: 12
Consultants: variable
Ongoing TA projects: ~7

Contact Information

Contact person: Mr. Peter Guthrie, General Manager

New Zealand National Health Committee
National Health Committee
PO Box 5013
6145  Wellington New Zealand

Tel: +64 4 496 2056
Fax: +64 4 496 2340
Internet: http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/health-technology
Email: stpi_info@moh.govt.nz