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Waikato DHB continues on track with national health targets

The latest quarterly results show Waikato DHB tracking well on all national health targets.

“It is very pleasing to see an improvement in the 6 hour acute goal and to make a start toward achieving the new cancer target,” said interim chief operating officer Brett Paradine.

“Improvement in both of these areas will be a priority for the coming year,” he said.

Waikato DHB’s results (compared to the national averages for all district health boards) for the quarter are:

  • Shorter stays in emergency departments 94% (94%)
  • Improved access to elective surgery 115% (107%)
  • Faster cancer treatment 68% (66%) – this is a new target, see below.
  • Increased immunisation 91% (94%)
  • Better help for smokers to quit – hospitals 96% (95%); primary care 87% (89%)
  • More heart and diabetes checks 88% (87%)

Four out of the six target rates show improvement by Waikato DHB compared to the previous quarter, and the other two have held steady.

Health minister Jonathan Coleman said the latest quarterly health target results show Waikato DHB is making steady overall progress. “Waikato DHB is continuing to improve its performance on the Government’s national health targets. These results are a credit to the health professionals in Waikato,” said Dr Coleman.

Cancer care coordinators at Waikato DHB. L-R Shelley Cavanagh, Nicola Walker, Mary-Ann Hamilton, Lee-Ann Creagh, Emily Fyfe.

This is the first time of reporting the Faster cancer treatment target results. The new target is broader than the previous Shorter waits for cancer treatment target. It measures how long patients wait from the time of their GP’s referral is accepted by the hospital and clinicians strongly suspect they have cancer, to the start of treatment – which could be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or even palliative care. The percentage refers to the number of patients who receive their first cancer treatment (other than management) within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer.

The intent is to measure right across the cancer diagnosis and treatment pathway. The target is to reach 85 percent by July 2016, but the current result of 66 percent averaged across all DHBs was expected – this is very similar to the UK results when a similar target was introduced. The target will be reported on a rolling 6-month basis rather than quarterly.

“At Waikato DHB we are now adopting a whole team approach to make sure our patients get the treatment that they require in what is often stressful circumstances for them,” said Amanda Wright, assistant group manager Internal Medicine and Oncology at Waikato Hospital.

“A lot of effort has gone into ensuring we have a robust process for tracking these patients. Our cancer care coordinators and clinical nurse specialists have done a wonderful job. We are pleased with the result and are working on a plan that will focus on improving our percentage to the expected 85 percent by June 2016,” she said.

Read the Waikato DHB results here

Read all national results here

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