Boost in national preventive health targets

  • Tony Ryall

The latest quarterly results for the six National Health Targets have been published.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says there is good improvement in the preventive health targets for quarter one 2011/12 – particularly with better help for smokers to quit.

"In this three month period, around 30,230 hospital patients who smoke received brief help and advice to quit – an internationally recognised health prevention measure. That's a national average increase of nearly four per cent (up from 85 per cent last quarter).

"We're also seeing positive improvement in fully immunising our children by two years of age – up from 90.4 per cent coverage in the last quarter, to 90.8 per cent against the target this year of 95 per cent.

"And 100 per cent of patients who were ready for cancer radiation treatment received that treatment within four weeks of their first specialist radiation oncology assessment. We have the excellent performance from our hospital cancer teams to thank for that.

"DHBs have again increased elective surgery. They performed 38,555 elective operations this quarter – 3 per cent and 1275 more than planned.

"Emergency departments experienced increased pressure this winter, and the shorter stays in EDs target decreased slightly to 90 per cent. But this is a significant improvement on the 86 per cent achieved during the same winter quarter last year.

"The better diabetes and cardiovascular services target also reduced slightly this quarter to 70 per cent, compared with 72 per cent last quarter.

"This is a complicated target which has shown to be of little clinical benefit to patients, and is under review."

Mr Ryall says these new national health target results demonstrate that the public health service remains fully committed to delivering better care for patients.

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