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C&C DHB welcomes the release of the new national health targets for DHBs for the first quarter of this financial year.
As with all new policies and procedures, these targets will take some time to bed down to ensure accuracy in collecting and reporting the appropriate data.
It is also important to note that our DHB has been extremely busy over the first quarter of this year with an exceptional number of patients over the winter period presenting with conditions such as swine flu and seasonal flu. This has been coupled with a general and marked increase in the total number of patients coming into the hospital, particularly through the Emergency Department.
Despite these challenges, C&C DHB has still managed to carry out a higher number of elective surgeries in every month of the past financial year, compared with the same month the year before. Waiting times in some specialties are now the lowest they have been for some years (e.g. cardiothoracic surgery).
Immunisation rates for C&C DHB are consistently higher than the national average and we have met our targets for Maori and Pacific children. Our own Immunisation Facilitator has developed and maintained strong relationships with community health providers and it is hoped that rates will improve even further.
Radiation treatment is offered to all patients within the target timeframes, but not all may not take up the offer because of issues such as other medical conditions or if they decline the treatment.
To work towards meeting all of the new health targets, C&C DHB has put many plans in place and will be adding to these over time. We realise there are improvements to be made in some areas and will be focusing on programmes to address these.
Some of the initiatives we have already implemented include work to reduce acute waiting times and improve the hospital experience for patients. To this end, we have established two entirely new units within the hospital: The Transit Lounge, which provides a space for those waiting to go home or be transferred; and the Medical Assessment & Planning Unit (MAPU), which allows for patients referred to hospital to be seen quickly by the specialist medical team they need, have some procedures done and stay for up to 36 hours without having to go to a ward. It is expected that the new MAPU will significantly improve waiting times in the Emergency Department.
We are making improvements to the way we collect and record how and when we provide advice and help to patients to give up smoking. We have been collecting this information for only a short time and therefore expect the data reported for this health target to be more accurate in the future.
The result for the Better Diabetes and Cardiovascular Services target is an averaging of three distinct indicators – a CVD interim indicator of blood glucose and lipid testing; diabetes detection and follow-up and diabetes management.
While C&C DHB achieved higher than the local target for the CVD indicator, we acknowledge there is more work to be done on detecting and managing diabetes in the community. We are working closely with our colleagues in primary care to improve this, including having diabetes nurse specialists work directly in and with primary care.
Health Target information, inlcuding the report for the first quarter of 2009, can be found at the Ministry of Health website.