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National Health Targets for Quarter 3 released

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The results of the six national health targets across all 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) have been released today for the January to March 2015 quarter.

​We sustained our improvements to achieve the goals again this quarter for Shorter Stays in the Emergency Department, and Better Help for Smokers to Quit for patients admitted to hospital.  A summary of our results for all the national health targets this quarter is provided below.

Just under 96% (9520) of 9961 people were admitted, discharged or transferred from the Emergency Department (ED) within six hours of presenting – A small improvement on last quarter and again achieving the national target.  Compared to the same quarter last year when we had a similar number of people presenting to the Emergency Department, 559 more people had shorter stays in ED this quarter – a sizeable improvement that reflects the concerted effort of a large number of staff to ensure better patient flow processes, and, together with our general practice teams, better manage the demand for acute health care services.

We continue to be ahead of target for the number of people discharged following their elective surgery.  Over this quarter, another 1701 patients were discharged following their elective surgery bringing the total number to 5377 patients who have had their elective surgical procedure over the last nine months – delivering 110% of our planned target year to date.  About 11% of our patients have their planned surgery at other hospitals that provide specialist surgery to residents of the wider region, like Wellington for heart surgery, and Hutt Valley for plastic and burns surgery.

The new national target for faster cancer treatment was published for the first time last quarter.  The target is that by July 2016, 85 percent of patients receive their first cancer treatment (or other management) within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer and a need to be seen within two weeks.  Our result this quarter, at 67%, is consistent with last quarter and the same as the national average for this period (results cover those patients who received their first treatment between October 2014 and March 2015).  This target focuses on a sub-set of patients who are referred through a managed, outpatient pathway.  Our aim is to make steady improvements toward this target by examining referral guidelines and pathways to earlier diagnosis and treatment that will ultimately benefit all cancer patients.
The hospital component of the national health target for offering advice and support to quit smoking was achieved for the second consecutive quarter, with a result of 97.0%.  This was a small improvement on the result last quarter and just above the national average (96%).  Of the adult patients admitted to hospital who smoke (about 15% of all admissions), 1111 patients have been offered brief advice and support to quit smoking over the last nine months. 
The result for providing better help for smokers to quit in the primary healthcare setting could not be reported in time for publishing this quarter.  This was disappointing, especially as the targeted ‘quit smoking’ campaign that was undertaken over the last few months by our primary health organisation (CentralPHO) and general practice teams is likely to have contributed to a big improvement on our previous results.  We are currently verifying the data and expect that updated data will be published on the health targets website within the next week or so.
Our result for eight-month-old infants being fully immunised on time fell slightly this quarter to 94.4% - just short of the 95% target, which we attained last quarter.  A drop in the rate this quarter is similar to the pattern last year, with the summer holiday period making it a bit more difficult to reach families with infants due for their immunisation.  Our immunisation team, including general practices and outreach services, continue to work together with families to ensure the vast majority of our children are immunised against vaccine preventable diseases.
The proportion of our eligible enrolled population that have had their risk for cardiovascular disease assessed in the last five years was much the same as last quarter.  Although there were another 367 heart and diabetes checks undertaken between January and March, the proportion of the total expected number to have had a risk assessment over the last 12 months fell short of the 90% target, at 85% of the 47,260 eligible enrolled adults.  CentralPHO is continuing to support general practice teams and our Maori and Pacific health providers to enable more people to have a heart and diabetes check to minimise the risk of them having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.
Chief executive officer Kathryn Cook has thanked staff for their continued efforts to improve on our performance against these targets.
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 the following chart.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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