New Zealand's under-stress health system all too real for some Kiwis

New Zealand's under-stress health system is all too real for some Kiwis and the Health Minister hopes to change the experience through radical reforms. 

Nani Beganovich's father had a fall one day and blacked out. 

"He could go to sleep and not wake up," she told Newshub. 

The hospital staff are amazing but totally overrun. Beganovich saw patients lying in the hall and the children's ward filled with adults. Her dad's two-hour wait became six and he was giving up hope. 

"He was exhausted and he said 'I'm done'," Beganovich said. "I only have one dad and I come here for help and to wait for six hours and be told that he is not urgent... that's shit."

And it turns out his head injury was urgent.

"He has fractures, he has blood clots."

Health Minister Andrew Little knows first-hand how stressful hospital can be.

"I think of the father of an infant boy sitting on the theatre operating table getting the planned care that has been arranged for some time, knowing the fear and anxiety that goes with that - not just in the boy, but in the father as well," Little said in a speech on Wednesday. 

Taking pressure off the hospitals and their heroes is the key to his health overhaul. 

After a mega review which found the health system is broken, fractured and at times racist, Little is not just shaking things up - he's throwing the entire thing on its head.

"This time it must be different."

Twenty district health boards will be dumped.

"We simply do not need 20 different sets of decision-makers," Little said. "It leads to duplication, variability and inefficiency."

Twenty DHBs equals about 220 board members without boards.

"If that's what you're worried about, then maybe we shouldn't be in the job that we're in," says Auckland DHB member Bernie O'Donnell. 

The new streamlined structure is a shift away from the current busy model with myriad boards, organisations and units, to one organisation to rule them all: Health New Zealand. 

"We've ended up with a postcode type delivery of health across the country," says GP Bryan Betty. "It's become very imbalanced so there had to be a radical shift. This is certainly bold."

Sitting alongside Health NZ will be a Māori Health Authority.

"We would no longer hang in there, wait it out or tell ourselves 'I'll see how I feel in the morning' only to see the morning never come," said Associate Health Minister for Māori Peeni Henare. 

Little said he wants the Māori Health Authority and its commissioning function to have "real grunt". 

To have grunt it needs cash. Māori make up 25 percent of the health system. But Little couldn't say if they'd get 25 percent of the health budget. 

"No I can't say that," Little said. "We're working through funding issues."

Twenty-five percent of the health budget would be $5 billion. 

"I'm not going to get caught up on a quantum," said Henare. 

None of this matters if National gets into Government. It would reverse the restructure and ditch the Māori Health Authority. 

"We do not support a separate health system," said National's health spokesperson Shane Reti. "We support one health system where the key principle is on need."

Māori Council boss Matthew Tukaki hit back at National. 

"The National Party are using this as an example of separatism. It's not true. It's not happening. It's not a real thing. It's dog-whistle politics and we've got to get over it."

There are plenty more scraps to come.