The Bay of Plenty District Health Board has been ranked the worst in New Zealand in one of the Government's key goals which were released today.
In the results of the quarterly health targets, set by the Ministry of Health, the Bay of Plenty District Health Board ranked as the poorest performer of all of the nation's 20 district health boards for a new target of Raising Healthy Kids.
The target is that by December 2017, 95 per cent of obese children identified in the B4 School Check (B4SC) programme will be offered a referral to a health professional for clinical assessment and family-based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.
The Bay of Plenty District Health Board reached just 17 per cent.
Waitemata and Auckland district health boards recorded 83 per cent and 79 per cent respectively.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board general manager planning and funding Simon Everitt told the Bay of Plenty Times the 17 per cent represented a baseline from which a rapid improvement was already being seen.
"Our performance has already improved to 24 per cent as at mid November 2016. We anticipate that performance will continue to improve steadily through to achievement of the target by December 2017.''
Mr Everitt said it was increasing target awareness, improving the referrals process and continuing to track performance weekly.
"The target captures one part of what is a much broader picture,'' he said.
The board's focus would include planning for a wider range of nutrition, activity and lifestyles programmes for children and their families.
Through its providers, the health board was already providing support programmes such as the Green Prescription and Active Families and was looking to help create more programmes, Mr Everitt said.
The board would work with councils and other government agencies to reduce the availability of things like sugar sweetened beverages in public spaces.
The district health board achieved its target of improved access to elective surgery but was shy of reaching the target of faster cancer treatment, increased immunisation and offering better help for smokers to quit. It was 1 per cent off reaching the 95 per cent target of shorter stays in emergency departments.
Surgical service business leader Bronwyn Anstis said, in a written statement, they had met or exceeded the elective surgery target, of increasing the volume of elective surgery by an average of 4000 discharges per year, for more than three years.
''This represents a positive result for the community we serve."