Bay GPs help more smokers quit

Hawke's Bay family doctors and nurses are the best in the country for providing high needs patients with quit-smoking support and advice in the past year.

In April, May, and June over 6500 patients were offered help to quit smoking, with more than half from the high needs population.

The region's general practices are also among the best in New Zealand for cardiovascular disease assessments and immunisations for under 2-year-olds.

Health Hawke's Bay chief executive Philip Grant said the results recognised the efforts of the region's general practices.

"Hawke's Bay was outperforming the national performance figures in all areas, except for breast screening, which would now become a real focus for the region," he said.

"There are 5876 women in our region who are overdue for mammograms, and we will be contacting them directly in the next few weeks with the aim of getting every woman on the list screened."

Hawke's Bay, when compared to New Zealand's 19 other district health board regions, was ranked second for cardiovascular disease assessments (high needs), third for immunisations for under 2-year-olds (high needs) and fourth (total population), along with fourth in the country for diabetes detection and follow-ups (high needs and total population).

Mr Grant said he expected to see a big improvement in the region's cervical screening performance over the next two months as more women continued to take up Health Hawke's Bay's offer of a free smear test during September and October.

Currently there are 7738 women in the region who are either due or overdue for cervical screening, with Hawke's Bay ranked eighth (high needs) and tenth (total population) for cervical screening.

Health Hawke's Bay has contracted six independent registered nurses to work alongside several family doctor practices to increase the numbers of patients receiving cardiovascular disease risk assessments.

They will also be identifying patients who are eligible, but have not yet been assessed.

Earlier this year Health Hawke's Bay committed to a Prioritisation of Resources Statement, where more of its funding would directly target addressing the health of high needs patients through family doctors and clinics.

"For Hawke's Bay to have any chance of bridging the gap in health outcomes, it must identify and invest in health services that target those most in need - our most vulnerable communities."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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