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MDHB achieves shorter stays in ED, and Better Help for Smokers to quit targets for first time

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24/02/2015
MidCentral District Health Board has improved sufficiently to attain two of the six national health targets –results of which were announced today.

​MidCentral’s has  previously struggled to achieve the Shorter Stays in the Emergency Department and Better Help for Smokers to Quit –both of which it attained for the first time since targets were introduced.

Our results across all the national health targets for this quarter are outlined below. 

Just over 95% of 9,812 people who attended the Emergency Department were discharged, transferred or admitted within six hours presenting – achieving this target for the first time.

While we have been steadily improving our performance toward achieving this target, it has been the concerted effort of many staff and departments that have been making changes to improve the flow of patients throughout the hospital that has made the big difference in recent months.  Operations Director, Hospital Services Lyn Horgan has praised staff throughout the organisation on reaching this goal.  “While this result is to be commended and celebrated by all staff involved we need to continue the momentum to ensure we sustain these results in the future to benefit our patients.  We know that the last quarter of the year is generally a quieter period in all hospital work, so with the coming build-up toward the higher demand for beds over autumn and winter it will be a challenge to maintain these improvements.  We are mindful that maintaining the drive and applying what we learned through the second half of last year will be required if we are to continue to achieve the high rate for shorter stays in the Emergency department in future quarters,” she said.

The national health target for offering advice and support to adult inpatients who are smokers to quit smoking was achieved for the first time this quarter, with a result of 96.3%. 
 
While we have been making steady improvements across the hospital, we have never managed to reach the 95% target for any previous three-month period until now.  Director Patient Safety and Clinical Effectiveness Muriel Hancock said this is a great result and was largely the effect of better electronic data capture and increased staff knowledge.  “It is a fantastic result for everyone involved and a great effort by all of our staff. The longer term objective is to reduce smoking-related health issues in our community, so it is important that we keep this high rate going in the hospital setting as well as support our healthcare partners to improve performance in the primary care setting”.  The result for providing brief advice and help to quit smoking in primary health care settings was disappointing – reducing to the lowest result for quite some time at only 73% of the estimated 17,237 adults seen in general practice over the year to December.  The DHB and Central PHO are committed to working with general practice teams and others to improve this result over the coming months.
 
We continued to achieve the target rate (95%) of eight month old infants being fully immunised on time.
 
The national target increased from 90% to 95% by the end of December 2014. We have been consistently meeting the higher target rate this year through the efforts of a strong team approach across the district to ensure we improve and sustain excellent immunisation coverage rates.  
 
We were well ahead of target again for the number of people discharged following their elective surgery.
 
Over this quarter, 203 more patients than originally planned had had their elective surgical procedure bringing the total to 3676 discharges by the end of December – 108% of target.
 
The proportion of eligible people who have had their cardiovascular disease risk assessed in the last five years reduced slightly to 85% of 46,959 eligible enrolled adults this quarter   – below the 90% target and lower than the national average for all DHBs (87%).
 
While there are some general practice teams throughout the district that are achieving, or close to achieving, this target, there are others that need to lift their performance levels to ensure more eligible patients receive their assessment for risk of heart disease.  Central PHO is helping these practices with a number of strategies, including “text to remind”, better information management, health promotion material and having health checks at health expos like the Whanau Ora days.
 
The new national target for faster cancer treatment was introduced in July and is reported for the first time this quarter.
 
This health target replaces the previous one for shorter waits for chemotherapy and radiotherapy which has been consistently achieved over the last couple of years.  The new target is that by July 2016, 85 percent of patients referred with a high suspicion of cancer and a need to be seen within two weeks receive their first cancer treatment (or other management) within 62 days. It covers the time patients wait for all tests and investigations needed to confirm a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, non-intervention management such as active surveillance, and palliative care.  The new cancer target applies to a specific group of patients who are referred through a managed, outpatient pathway with a high suspicion of cancer and a need to be seen within two weeks. Focusing on this group presents the greatest opportunity to improve the cancer pathway, from referral to first treatment, and make improvements that benefit all cancer patients.
 
Our result, at 66%, is the same as the national average.  At this stage, the volume of eligible patients referred through the outpatient pathway is quite small and so a rolling six-month period is reported.
 
For more details and FAQs about the Health Targets go to: www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/health-targets
 
 
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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