WDHB surpasses five of health minister's six health targets
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24 February 2015
 
Not only has the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) surpassed five of the health minister’s six health targets, but Whanganui Hospital’s Emergency Department is back on track having achieved 96 percent for the 95 percent Shorter Stays in ED health targeta rise of three percent since the previous quarter.
 
Emergency Department clinical director Athol Steward says he’s delighted WDHB’s hospital-wide efforts to admit, discharge or transfer 95 percent of patients from ED within the six hour target have improved.
 
“The fact that demanding winters can impact on the hospital’s ability to ensure the patient journey through ED runs smoothly was reflected in our lower than usual July to September result,” Dr Steward says. “What’s important now, is that we are doing our best to prepare for the coming winter.”
 
While the 2014/15 Quarter Two national health target results show Whanganui district residents continue to enjoy a high access rate to elective surgical procedures with the DHB achieving 105 percent for the 100 percent Improved access to elective surgery, Whanganui DHB chief executive Julie Patterson has sounded a cautionary note.
 
“It’s fair to say that the good access that Whanganui residents have to the WDHB’s surgical services is due in part to our positive staffing levels’” Mrs Patterson says. “However, if the WDHB is to maintain its current staffing levels, those needing surgery do need to look to Whanganui as their hospital of choice for their surgical care. Unfortunately, people sometimes look elsewhere due to a perception that access to care in our hospital is limited when, comparatively speaking, this is not the case.”
 
Further cause for celebration was Whanganui’s 96 percent result for the 95 percent Increased immunisation target. Whanganui Regional Health Network chief executive Judith McDonald says she can’t thank her staff enough for the effort that’s gone into achieving this target.
 
“We know Whanganui’s primary health staff are doing everything they can to make sure children in our community are immunised and immunised on time,” Mrs McDonald says. “And it’s not easy when families move around or children become sick but our staff are tenacious and it’s paid off. My congratulations to everyone involved - including our families.”
 
Mrs McDonald says while she was hoping primary health workers would reach the 90 percent target for Better help for smokers to quit, she is heartened that the result continued to move upwards from 84 percent achieved in quarter one to 87 percent in quarter two. That the WDHB had achieved 96 percent for the 95 percent target set for hospitals was a reflection of the good work done by hospital staff to offer advice and support for patients to quit smoking, she says.
 
Meanwhile, Whanganui GP Dr John McMenamin is delighted that for a second quarter in a row, Whanganui exceeded the 90 percent national target for More heart and diabetes checks by one percent. He says this is down to the dedicated efforts of general practice teams and the Whanganui Regional Health Network’s success in targeting patients who have not had a completed cardiovascular disease risk assessment.
 
While the news was not so positive for the new 85 percent Faster cancer treatment target, Mrs Patterson is comfortable that WDHB staff have good systems in place to help them lift their 62 percent result achieved in the October to December quarter. The target asks that 85 percent of patients will receive their first cancer treatment (or other management) within 62 days of being referred as having a high suspicion of cancer. The target will increase to 90 percent by June 2017.

Click here for the full National Health Targets results table for 2014/15 Quarter 2.