Health target results come back positive

Column Articles
Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ensuring New Zealanders can access better, sooner, more convenient healthcare remains the Government’s number one funding priority, and the latest quarterly data shows our progress from the previous quarter has been largely maintained.

District health boards (DHBs) are once again performing more elective surgeries, surpassing the health target by eight per cent. People are spending less time waiting in emergency departments with 94 per cent of patients admitted, discharged or transferred from the ED within six hours. Immunisation coverage for our children remains at 93 per cent and more people are being supported to make healthy changes to their lifestyles by quitting smoking.

Bay of Plenty DHB will receive an extra $32 million in new money this year from Budget 2016, taking the DHB’s total funding to $718 million for 2016/17. That’s an extra $202 million in funding over the last eight years which will ensure that our DHB can continue delivering better health services.

Our DHB is also supported with more doctors and nurses, as of 31 March 2016 there were over 310 doctor full-time equivalents and around 1,040 nurse full-time equivalents employed by Bay of Plenty DHB. That’s almost 80 more doctors and 190 more nurses compared to 2008. This increase will help ensure that the Bay has a health workforce that is well equipped to handle current and future demands.


Access to elective surgery is a priority for this Government. As part of Budget 2016 we invested an extra $96 million over four years to ensure more New Zealanders receive the surgery they need.

Since National came into Government the number of First Specialist Assessments has increased from 432,047 in 2008/09 to 551,013 in 2015/16. As a result, the number of patients receiving elective surgery has increased from 117,951 in 2007/08 to 171,608 in 2015/16.

DHBs are working hard to continue to improve the services they deliver. The target for more heart and diabetes checks was again met this quarter with 91 per cent. While it will remain an accountability measure for DHBs, this is the last quarter that the more heart and diabetes checks target will be reported as it’s been replaced by the new childhood obesity health target.

The new health target will see 95 per cent of obese children identified in the Before School Check (B4 School Check) programme offered a referral to the services they and their family need to support healthy eating and activity. By December 2017 over 4,000 children a year are expected to be supported to achieve a healthy weight.

Focusing on results, we are working towards specific, measurable targets to improve the lives of families, particularly the most vulnerable. These latest health target results are a credit to our health workforce throughout the country.