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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

March 1, 2013

Excellent result for West Coast meeting national health targets

The West Coast community leads the country for having the shortest stays in an Emergency Department. This is one of six national health targets set by the Minister of Health, which DHBs have to report against on a quarterly basis.

The other national targets are improved access to elective surgery; shorter waits for cancer treatment; increased immunisation; better help for smokers to quit; and better diabetes, and more heart and diabetes checks.

"Results in the hospital-based targets are particularly pleasing," West Coast DHB programme director Michael Frampton said. "All patients at West Coast DHB emergency departments were admitted, discharged or transferred from the ED within six hours, better than all other areas in New Zealand. In addition, we are ahead of plan with elective surgery discharges and, along with the rest of the country, all our cancer patients met the target of starting their radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment within four weeks.

The hard work of our immunisation team has resulted in a significant improvement in the number of eight-month-olds to have completed their primary course of immunisation on time. Eighty-four per cent of all eligible children, and all Maori children, received their immunisations on time. Besides the 15 parents who chose to opt off the immunisation register, or declined immunisation for their young children, only one child did not have all their immunisations by the eight month target. The DHB continues to strongly encourage all parents to have their children immunised according to the national immunisation schedule, but recognises that this is a decision to be made by individual families.

During the three months relevant to this result, 89 per cent of patients received advice and support to quit smoking. A similar measure for patients seen by a health practitioner in primary care has improved to 44 per cent.

With a continuing focus on heart health, it is timely to remind all eligible patients that they need to have their assessment carried out at least every five years. The targets report on the number of males 45 years-of-age or older and females 55 years-of-age or older who have had a heart and diabetes check. The age for eligibility decreases by 10 years if you are Maori, Pacifika, from the Indian sub-continent, a person with diabetes, or if you have known risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol.

The risk assessment includes a fasting blood test, blood pressure check, discussion of results and risk factors (such as being smoke free) and possible lifestyle changes, and includes consideration of risk projections. If risk is assessed at less than 15 per cent, patients will be rescreened in five years. If over 15 per cent, the health professional becomes even more involved, patients get more regular checks, and medication may be an option.

More specific information on each of the health targets can be found on the Ministry of Health's website at www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/health-targets/how-your-dhb-performing

For more information

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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