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Good improvement, could do better
If Waikato DHB were a rugby team the coach would be telling the players they did okay but could do better when it comes to health targets, chief executive Craig Climo says.
The end of year results for health targets are out and show Waikato DHB is working diligently at improving its performance but needs to do more in particular areas.
Waikato continues to stand out in three of the targets: improved access to elective surgery, shorter waits for cancer treatment and better help for smokers to quit.
Performance on the shorter stay in emergency departments target concerns Mr Climo more than any of the other health targets. Waikato finished 17th among 21 DHBs with 83 per cent of the 16,738 patients seen from April 1 to June 30 at Waikato and Thames hospitals, admitted discharged or transferred within six hours. The target was 95 per cent.
Waikato DHB’s improvement from the start of the financial year – it went from 67 per cent to 83 per cent - meant it was the second most improved DHB in the country over the 12 months behind Hawkes Bay.
“We progressed relatively well but are still significantly lower than other big DHBs that face the same issues we do. If they can do it, so can we,” said Mr Climo.
“The solutions are always multifaceted but the single biggest gain will come through recognition throughout Waikato and Thames hospitals that it is a hospital wide issue - not just an emergency department problem.
“This is particularly so in Waikato Hospital. It needs medical staff to be attentive to issues in ED and not just their traditional focus elsewhere in the hospital. Wards need to free up beds sooner and readily receive patients,” he said.
Waikato Hospital emergency department clinical director Dr John Bonning said the target was very important, as was quality care.
“We’re committed to achieving this target and continue to work hard towards doing their best for our patients,” he said.
Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams said just over 50 per cent of the emergency department’s patients were seen, treated and discharged within four hours and only 38 per cent admitted into hospital.
“In saying internally it was an ED target, it gave other parts of the organisation the ability to not engage. We need to change our tack and say that all patients requiring admission should be in a bed within six hours,” she said.
With immunisation of two-year-olds, Waikato not only exceeded its target of 81 per cent but passed the national target of 85 per cent.
“Particularly pleasing is that the past large gap in rates between Maori and non-Maori is virtually eliminated. This is a great effort after some years of largely static immunisation rates.
“The result is due to the efforts of primary care and a range of additional services, with a significant contribution from DHB provider-arm teams including National Immunisation Register, the mobile immunisation service and hospital based opportunistic immunisation,” said Mr Climo.
For more information www.waikatodhb.govt.nz/healthtargets