Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the latest National Health Target results show that over the busy winter months people were treated more quickly in emergency departments across the country than in previous years.
“Today’s quarter one result for 2014 is the best result in emergency department wait times over winter since targets began in 2009, which is significant as this is when services are traditionally at their most stretched,” says Dr Coleman.
Almost 93 out of every 100 people presenting to an emergency department during winter were admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours.
The result was achieved at a time when more patients were presenting to emergency departments – there were 272,972 patients seen this quarter – 7185 more people than at the same time last year.
The quarterly result of 93 per cent is slightly down on the previous quarter and reflects the impact of the usual winter rush caused by seasonal illness such as influenza.
“Overall, this is a very good result as we work steadily towards the 95 per cent goal. It is thanks to the hard work of the many health professionals working in emergency departments, across our hospitals and in primary care,” says Dr Coleman.
“It is also tribute to the leadership shown by Professor of Emergency Medicine Mike Ardagh who steps down as the Target Champion next month after five and a half years.”
Other target results show that three health targets have been met:
- Improved access to elective surgery – 2,120 (5 per cent) more elective surgical discharges were provided than planned.
- Every patient ready for cancer treatment received it within the world gold standard of four weeks.
- 95 per cent of smokers in hospital were given advice on how to quit.
Improvements continue to be made in the other targets:
- The national coverage result for infant immunisation at 8 months of age is 92 per cent, an increase of 0.8 per cent on quarter four against the revised target of 95 per cent.
- The primary care component of the better help for smokers to quit target increased by 2.6 per cent to 88 per cent.
- More heart and diabetes checks target increased by 1.3 per cent to 86 per cent this quarter.
The shorter waits for cancer treatment health target is being replaced by the Faster Cancer Treatment Target. This is the last result published for this target. The first results for the new target will be published in February 2015.
Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129 or Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372