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MDHB sustains national health target performance

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​Over the January to March 2016 quarter, MidCentral District Health Board met the national targets for more heart and diabetes checks, the expected increase in the number of patients discharged following elective surgery, and sustained our results for better help to quit smoking.

MDHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said: “Over this period, our immunisation coverage rate and faster cancer treatment rates were slightly better than the national average, but fell below target and we managed to sustain our performance for shorter stays in the Emergency Department, like other DHBs over this busy quarter.”  Results for all 20 DHBs were released today.

A summary of our results for this quarter (January - March) across all the national health targets is provided below.

Again we had high numbers of people attending the Emergency Department (ED) – particulary  in February.  More usually we see fewer people at the Emergency Department over the summer months, so the higher number of patients that we’ve been seeing each month since July 2015 was unexpected this quarter.  Even so, we managed to ensure that 10,122 (94 percent) of the 10,763 people who attended ED were admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours of presenting.  This result was the same as last quarter and was the same as the national average.

Over this quarter, 1785 patients were discharged following their elective, or arranged, surgery, bringing the total number of planned surgical discharges to 5739 over the nine months.  This is above our planned target by 87 discharges (2 percent above our target year-to-date).  Linked to the increase is the number of people seen in the Emergency Department. We had a higher than expected number of people needing acute surgery, so we worked hard to ensure those people who had their planned surgery over this quarter could still have their surgery on time. 

We continue to work toward achieving the national target for faster cancer treatment.  Of the 97 patients who received their first cancer treatment (or other management) in the six months to the end of March 2016, 75 (77 percent) received their treatment within 62 days of being referred.  The reduction in result compared to last quarter (which was at 81 percent) was largely attributable to a particularly low result in January.

Several projects for surgical patients referred with a high suspicion of cancer are being undertaken, looking at improvements that can be made in the referral and treatment pathway so that more eligible patients can receive faster cancer treatment. The national average for this latest period remains at 75 percent and the target is to achieve 85 percent by the end of June 2016.

Our result for offering brief advice and support to quit smoking was slightly less than the result reported last quarter at 88 percent (19,635) of 22,335 PHO enrolled patients who are current smokers having been offered help to quit smoking over the past 15 months.  While this was slightly better than the national average (86 percent), our result was still below target, and we continue with our efforts to improve this result.

We continued to achieve the national goal for hospitalised patients with 1136 (97 percent) of 1168 patients identified as current smokers over this quarter having been offered brief advice and support to quit smoking– exceeding target.  For the third component of the ‘better help for smokers to quit’ health target, 426 pregnant women were seen by Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) over this quarter, 65 identified as current smokers; 89 percent (58) were offered brief advice and support to quit. This result was just below target for the first time.  We have purchased a number of ‘Smokelyzers’ for use across maternity services in the hospital, LMC clinics and maternity resource centres as yet another tool to encourage pregnant women who smoke to recognise the need to quit and accept referral to smoking cessation services.
(Note the results for the maternity and hospital components of this health target are not published in the chart below, but are reported on the Ministry’s website).

Our immunisation coverage rate fell to being below target this quarter with 94 percent of the 539 eligible eight-month-old infants being fully immunised on time.  While this result was above the national average (93 percent), a slightly lower immunisation coverage rate is not uncommon over the holiday period and at the beginning of the flu season.  We will continue to focus our efforts on ensuring all families with eligible infants have opportunities to immunise their child against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).  The recent outbreak of measles in the Horowhenua district is an unfortunate reminder of the impacts that measles can have on children, their family and community.

The proportion of our population that have had their risk for cardiovascular disease assessed in the last five years was much the same as last quarter.  Of the 48,338 eligible enrolled adults expected to have had an assessment by the end of March 2016, 43,694 (90 percent) had had their risk for cardiovascular disease assessed.  While this achieves the target, and is the same as the national average rate for this quarter, our rates for Maori and Pacific people continue to be below expectations at around 84 percent of the expected number (8882), and we continue with our efforts to improve these results.

For more details and FAQs about the Health Targets go to: and the 'MyDHB' website.
The health target results for all DHBs are shown in this chart.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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