From worst to best – turnaround continues at Waitemata Health Board

Press Release – Waitemata District Health Board
Waitemata DHB has continued its sterling performance against the Government’s national health targets, consigning to its past the historic problem area of long wait times in its emergency departments.

Results for the second quarter of 2012/13 (October to December) released by the Ministry of Health today show that Waitemata is now ranked second behind only West Coast DHB – and first among the large DHBs – in its performance in the ED health target.

Waitemata’s Q2 accomplishment in the ED target, with 97% of patients admitted, discharged or transferred from its emergency departments within six hours, marks a full year of the DHB consistently achieving the target.

“It is a remarkable turnaround in performance, especially when you consider that in June 2009, we had the worst performing EDs in the country, delivering just 61% against the target,” says Waitemata DHB chief executive officer Dr Dale Bramley, “Now we are among the very best in New Zealand.” Dr Bramley says the achievement is even more extraordinary when the dramatic spike in ED patient numbers is taken into consideration.

“In 2009, our EDs on the North Shore and Waitakere treated a total of 78,000 people – today, our EDs easily see more than 100,000 patients a year.

“The achievement is a historic milestone for our DHB, and has only been made possible through the commitment and hard work of all our people – from the orderlies and cleaners through to the nurses, doctors and allied health professionals.”

Overall, Waitemata DHB’s results for Q2 2012/13 are as follows:
•Shorter Stays in Emergency Departments – 97% (target 95%)
•Improved Access to Elective Surgery – 105% (target 100%)
•Shorter Waits for Cancer Treatment – 100% (target 100%)
•Increased immunisation – 92% (target 85%)
•Better help for smokers to quit –
o 96% (target 95%) (public hospitals)
o 38% (target 90%) (primary care)
•More heart and diabetes checks – 66% (target 75%)

The DHB remains on track to achieve the new target of more heart and diabetes checks, placing first among the large DHBs in this target for Q2.

It is also making good progress in the new primary care component of the smoking target. While no DHBs have met the primary care target yet, Waitemata was among the 13 DHBs that have improved their results by more than one percent, improving by three percent over the quarter.

Dr Bramley says the results augur well for the DHB’s goal of being one of the best performing in the country.

“Our performance in the health targets shows that as an organisation, we are performing very close to our full potential.

“There’s always room for improvement, but it’s important to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all our staff and partner organisations in getting to this point – ultimately it is the people in our district who will benefit.”

Health targets were initiated by the Ministry of Health as a set of national performance measures designed to improve health services across New Zealand. Introduced to the New Zealand health system in 2007/08, health targets are reviewed annually to determine trends, gaps and success factors – and to ensure they align with government health priorities.

Ranking of DHBs’ performance is part of the ministry’s quarterly health reporting process. The results are publicly available at http://www.health.govt.nz/

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