WDHB pleased with continuing improvement in latest target results

25 August 2015
Today’s release of the 2014/15 Quarter Four national health target results reveal Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) achieved four of the six targets for the April to June 2015 period, but it’s the fact that results are continuing to improve on the two other targets that delights WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson the most.
Mrs Patterson says while she would be happier if the WDHB had achieved all six targets, she’s satisfied with the performance of the health services being provided. This is particularly so in the case of the results for Shorter stays in Emergency Departments (95 percent) with 96 percent; Improved access to elective surgery (100 percent) with 108 percent; Better help for smokers to quit (95 percent) with 96 percent; and More heart and diabetes checks (90 percent) with 91 percent.
“We haven’t met all six targets this time however, four have been met, and for the two we didn’t quite reach, we’ve continued to achieve improving results over the past couple of quarters,” Mrs Patterson says. “I’m comfortable we’re moving in the right direction.”
The WDHB achieved 88 percent for the 95 percent Increased Immunisation target, and while WDHB child and youth portfolio manager Jon Buchan says it’s disappointing the target wasn’t reached, he is glad to see Whanganui’s immunisation levels for eight-month-olds are recovering with a two percent increase on the result achieved in Quarter 3.
“Whanganui’s health professionals work extremely hard, and often go above-and-beyond to do everything practically possible to immunise our community’s children from preventable diseases,” Mr Buchan says.
“A recent whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in the South Island has shown how vulnerable our children can be if they are not immunised,” Mr Buchan says. “No parent wants to watch their child struggling to breathe and potentially become critically ill, however, a small number of parents continue to choose to decline immunisations and place their children at increased risk.”
Mr Buchan says infants, children and pregnant women (28-38 weeks) are entitled to free vaccinations and the DHB strongly recommends these are taken up as soon as possible.
The WDHB was very pleased to once again achieve the 95 percent target for Shorter stays in Emergency Departments. Mrs Patterson says it’s pleasing the hard work by staff has allowed the DHB to sustain its good results in this target. “Except for one result in the last 14 quarters, we have achieved the target each 3-month period for the past three and a half years,” Mrs Patterson says.
For the second quarter in a row, Whanganui achieved the 90 percent primary care target for Better help for smokers to quit. The 95 percent Better help for smokers to quit target for hospitals was again achieved with a 96 percent result. The WDHB also improved its score from 103 percent to 108 percent for the 100 percent Improved access to elective surgery target.

Mrs Patterson says she’s comfortable with the progress made for the new Faster cancer treatment target and that the systems are in place to help improve on the 69 percent result. No DHBs have yet achieved the target which asks that 85 percent of patients will receive their first cancer treatment within 62 days of being referred as having a high suspicion of cancer.
“Our community can be very proud of the health services we have across the district,” Mrs Patterson says. “Given the impact of the flooding we experienced at the end of June, we have done remarkably well.”

Click here to view the full health target results table