Further gains made in health BPS targets

  • Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Better Public Services results released today show immunisation rates have reached an all-time high and rheumatic fever rates have dropped considerably.

“It is important that children get the best possible start in life. The Government is focused on making progress on issues that affect vulnerable children,” says Dr Coleman.

The latest Better Public Services update shows immunisation rates for eight-month-old babies have reached 93.5 per cent.

“More babies than ever before are being protected against whooping cough and other serious preventable diseases,” says Dr Coleman.

“We raised the bar on immunisation, lifting the target from 90 to 95 per cent, and it is encouraging to see immunisation rates reach an all-time high. This is a tribute to the hard work of GP teams, Well Child providers, community outreach teams, midwives, DHB staff and the immunisation programme team. 

“While the result fell just short of the target, the new target is by its very nature extremely challenging. We will continue to strive to hit this ambitious goal. With around 15,000 babies immunised each quarter, we were about 200 immunisations short, and some of those babies have now been immunised.”

The latest figures on rheumatic fever show a 14 per cent decrease in first episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations since the target was introduced in 2012.

“While the latest provisional figures show the range of initiatives to tackle rheumatic fever are making a considerable difference, there is more work to be done,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Government has invested more than $65 million to prevent and treat rheumatic fever. 13,000 young people have accessed the free rapid response sore throat clinics in Auckland and Wellington.

“This initiative is being expanded to another seven DHBs, and when new services are open, more than 200,000 young people in high-risk areas will have access to prompt assessment and treatment for sore throats.

“As a result of the Auckland Healthy Homes Initiative, over 1,100 families have been offered a package of housing-related interventions. The Ministry of Health is setting up similar initiatives in seven other DHBs.

“Over 20,000 Auckland and Wellington Pacific families have been engaged through home visits and community events to raise awareness of rheumatic fever.”