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Waikato District Health Board Improves In All Six Areas

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Waikato District Health Board Improves In All Six Areas

Waikato District Health Board improved in each one of the six national health targets released today by the Minister of Health.

Chief executive Craig Climo thanked staff for their efforts particularly on the smoking indicator where it is the actions of individual health professionals that makes all the difference.

"The Minister of Health and therefore the health sector focuses on two things: financial performance and the six health targets.

"Waikato DHB has improved in all areas but overall it ranks about the same, which reinforces the old adage, that if you are not improving you are going backward," said Mr Climo.

The Minister requires DHBs to meet the targets by 30 June 2010.

"I thank staff for their efforts to date and ask that you continue in your efforts."

Mr Climo made specific comments on each target below:

ED

The third quarter showed only a modest improvement from 79 per cent to 81 per cent, but the last month's result was 85 per cent.

It shows that we continue to make solid progress and at a time when the number of ED attendances is setting record highs. The ED result reflects whole of system performance, not just ED, and an area that is holding back overall performance is other specialties attending patients in ED.

The ED result is drawn from Waikato Hospital and Thames emergency departments.

Elective surgery

It's great to be able to say that as expected we continue to perform well on this indicator. The objective is to achieve 100 per cent of our planned elective volumes and we are ahead of that.

Increasing elective surgery continues to be a major success story for Waikato DHB.

Radiotherapy

This is another outstanding story. Waikato DHB radiotherapy services provide the best access in New Zealand.

The service is not only meeting the 100 per cent target at six weeks but is achieving 100 per cent at four weeks. The four-week national target does not start until December 2010.

Immunisation

The 84 per cent result is very good and a solid improvement on the 80 per cent for the previous quarter. It is even better when viewed against some years of the results being hard to move.

The turn around is due to new hospital based activity (opportunistic screening) and identifying and targeting hard to reach families, and particularly the efforts of primary care.

Smoking

Although the result has improved from 40 per cent to 47 per cent between the two quarters, and improved further with last month's result being almost 50 per cent, this result is the frustrating one.

Whereas the other indicators have various systems complexities that bear on them, the smoking target is simply about hospital health professionals asking if the person smokes and offering help. It is quick and easily recorded.

Patients (and their families) are strongly influenced by health professionals and are at their most amenable to lifestyle change when dealing with health issues. We can play a major part in helping the public with what is the single biggest health related lifestyle decision they will make.

Within that result, some areas are doing very well and I thank them.

Diabetes/CVD

This indicator is a lot less clear in what it means than the others. It is a composite of three activities. But that should not diminish the importance given to it. This indicator is basically about better management of the very serious issue of chronic conditions. It is largely done in the primary sector.

The result between the two quarters improved from 66 per cent to 68 per cent. It looks modest but is a pleasing result, when at the same time the number of patients identified with these diseases has increased significantly. This is due to the sector doing a better job of identification.

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