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December 1, 2011

Excellent result for West Coast meeting national health targets

Overall the first quarter heath results (2011/12) for the West Coast DHB are an excellent result, says DHB CE David Meates.

The six health targets are national health performance measures, introduced to the New Zealand health system in 2007/08 and set by the Ministry of Health. They are designed to improve the performance of health services and provide a focus for action for DHBs.

The six targets measured across all DHBs are Shorter stays in Emergency Departments; Improved access to Elective Surgery; Shorter waits for Cancer Treatment; Increased Immunisation; Better help for Smokers to Quit and Better Diabetes and Cardiovascular Services.

The West Coast continues to lead the country's 20 DHBs with its performance in the Shorter stays in Emergency Departments target.

David Meates says, "Maintaining the West Coast DHB performance in this target is a credit to hospital staff. The target is a good measure of overall hospital efficiency as it relies not only on patients being seen quickly in the Emergency Department, but also the way in which the hospital system can process the subsequent patient admissions and discharges.

"We are also the second best performing DHB with regard to Improved Access to Elective Surgery."

All DHBs met the four-week target for Shorter waits for Cancer Treatment. Radiation treatment for cancer patients is normally carried out for West Coast patients in Christchurch.

The DHB performance in the Increased Immunisation target has improved although it still sits below the target. The West Coast has a significant number of young children who are recorded as opting-off the National Immunisation Register or declining immunisation.

David Meates says the current outbreaks of measles and pertussis provides an opportunity to further engage with parents of children recorded as declined. "We can provide more information about vaccine preventable diseases and immunisation. It is pleasing to see that in this quarter we achieved higher than 90 percent immunisation coverage for Māori children.

"Over the past few years we have put significant effort into determining the smoking status of DHB patients and offering them assistance to quit. So it is disappointing to report that the West Coast DHB has fallen to only 67% of patient smokers provided with advice, the lowest DHB in New Zealand for the Better Help for Smokers to quit target. There has not been a Smokefree Coordinator in place during the quarter, but with the new appointment of a Smokefree Service Development Manager and Smokefree Coordinator we expect our results to improve."

The Better Diabetes and Cardiovascular Services target has also improved reflecting the good work being carried out, particularly in general practices, getting eligible adults to have a cardiovascular risk assessment and diabetic patients to have their free annual reviews and have their condition well managed.

"The results reflect the continued hard work by many people working in the West Coast health system," says David Meates.

More specific information on each of the health targets can be found on the Ministry of Health's website.

 

For further information please contact

Bryan Jamieson
Community Liaison Officer
West Coast DHB
PO Box 387
Greymouth 7840
Phone (DDI): (03) 769-7665
Mobile: 027 245-9595
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