WDHB latest health target results please staff

27 May 2014
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) chief executive Julie Patterson is delighted with the WDHB’s latest health target results which saw Whanganui reach five of the six targets and achieve the top score for the one target yet to be achieved across the country. 
To see the WDHB lift its score for More heart and diabetes checks from 73 percent to 86 percent (target 90 percent) was a highlight for Mrs Patterson who says the DHB is well on track to meet the 90 percent target by 1 July this year. Mrs Patterson puts this down, in large part, to the Whanganui Regional Health Network’s (WRHN) partnership effort with general practices to provide outreach follow-up for hard to reach adults throughout the district and, the tremendous effort that GP teams are making to meet this target within their busy day-to-day priorities.
WRHN chief executive Judith McDonald paid tribute to Whanganui’s clinical champion John McMenamin who she says had been outstanding in his motivation and focus to progress the More heart and diabetes checks in the last quarter.
The WDHB also improved its score from 102 percent to 103 percent for the 100 percent Improved access to elective surgery target.
And for the second quarter in a row, Whanganui achieved the 95 percent hospital target for Better help for smokers to quit for hospitals. The primary care sector edged ever closer to reaching its 90 percent target by achieving 84 percent – two percent more than last quarter.
All 20 DHBs again achieved 100 percent for the 100 percent Shorter waits for cancer treatment target, a result Mrs Patterson says should never be taken lightly. “It takes a tremendous effort from staff working across many teams to achieve this. It’s a collaborative effort in the truest sense of the word.”      
The WDHB was very pleased to once again achieve the 95 percent target for Shorter stays in Emergency Departments. WDHB Emergency Department head Athol Steward says it’s an important quality target for emergency departments to reach.
“We are pleased the hard work by staff and managers has allowed us to remain above the threshold,” says Dr Steward. “In effect this is a hospital-wide target which needs all departments to function efficiently to cut out unnecessary delays in the process of delivering care.”
While the WDHB achieved 91 percent for the 90 percent Increased Immunisation target, WDHB child and youth portfolio manager Jon Buchan says to see Whanganui’s immunisation levels for eight-month-olds drop by two percent since the previous quarter was disappointing.
Mr Buchan says Whanganui’s health professionals work extremely hard to ensure comprehensive and universal immunisations are achieved in the Whanganui community.
“The reality for our staff is that for a variety of reasons, a small percentage of parents choose to decline immunisations for their children,” Mr Buchan says. “Parents have the right to do this but the WDHB wants to ensure they fully understand how their decision can impact on the health of their child or children.
“For an even smaller group of children (just over three per month on average), their parents are happy for them to be immunised but issues such as the start date falling later than the Ministry of Health schedule, illness or difficulties linking into health services prevent these immunisations from being completed within the target timeframes. Together, the Whanganui DHB, our health partners, families and whānau, and the wider community need to support these parents to help them achieve timely immunisations to maximise their children’s protection from preventable diseases.”
Mrs Patterson thanked all staff involved with the six targets saying they deserved a ‘huge pat on the back’.

“I’m sure it must be very reassuring for our community to see the WDHB performing so well. While we are one of New Zealand’s smallest DHBs I think we can celebrate knowing that our patients are being served well in these six areas for which the Ministry has put all DHBs under the microscope.”