Health and Disability Services Standards Review

17 March 2021

The Ministry of Health and Standards New Zealand are working together with the sector to review standards related to health and disability services. The Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand has been involved with review of the Health & Disability Services Standards (NZS 8134), Fertility Services Standards (NZS 8181), Home and Community Support Standards (NZS 8158), and Interim Standards for Abortion Services in New Zealand.  

This is an update from the Ministry of Health regarding the Standards Review work programme and current plans for implementation of the new Standard. For more information about the work programme, and for regular updates, please visit the dedicated Standards Review page on the Ministry of Health website:

Public Consultation complete

HealthCERT is pleased to confirm that the public consultation period (which ran from 2 November 2020 through 13 January 2021) was a success. Over 100 individuals and organisations participated in the public consultation, with over 1400 pieces of feedback addressed and moderated by the P8134 Standard Development Committee (“the Committee”).

The new Health and Disability Services Standard is now making its way through Standard New Zealand’s final approval process

The Ministry of Health jointly own this Standard with Standards New Zealand (SNZ), which is a business unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation, Employment. SNZ is responsible for administering the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015.

The new Health and Disability Services Standard NZS 8134:2021 (“the new Standard”) is now going through Standards NZ’s final approval process. This includes approval by Committee members and formal confirmation by the Standard Approval Board that Standard NZ’s robust and internationally accredited standard development process was adhered to in the development of the new Standard.  

The new Health and Disability Services Standard will then make its way through the approval process as set out in the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001.

In early May 2021, the Ministry of Health will take steps for the Minister of Health to approve the new Health & Disability Services Standard NZS 8134:2021 and revoke the current standards under the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001. The Act requires a minimum of six months from approval of the new Standard to the date for compliance to the new Standard.

HealthCERT is currently planning for a date for compliance to occur mid-November 2021. Implementation planning is underway, and will include information for auditors, providers, and people and whānau who use the included services.

The differences between the current and the new standards

HealthCERT has started a thorough analysis mapping the current standard (NZS 8134:2008) against the new Standard (NZS 8134:2021). The finalisation of this analysis will need to wait until the Standard is formally finalised and approved. It is expected that the new Standard will be made publicly available by mid-May 2021.

Key, high-level changes to the new Standard include:

  • strengthened infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship, including learnings from New Zealand’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • an increased focus on supporting service providers to meet Te Tiriti O Waitangi obligations, and
  • strengthened clinical governance, to ensure people’s care and support needs are appropriately met.

Education and resources will be provided to support the sector to meet the requirements of the new Standard.

HealthCERT will be supporting the sector on the journey to ensure safe care and support for people in New Zealand Aotearoa. HealthCERT’s focus for implementation will be to work with the sector to provide the guidance and resources needed in order to transition towards meeting the requirements of the new Standard.  More information will be provided regarding this programme of work over the coming months.

* Issued by the Ministry of Health March 15, 2021