Poor results in the latest Ministry of Health targets are a temporary "blip", says Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) chief executive Dr Kevin Snee.
"HBDHB has consistently been a top performer in meeting national and local goals over a long period of time, and I believe this quarter's National Health target results are a short-term blip," he said.
The quarterly results, released yesterday, showed HBDHB ranked 18th out of the nation's 20 health boards for Faster Cancer Treatment, missing the target of 85 per cent of patients receiving their first cancer treatment within 62 days of being referred, with 66 per cent referred. Only one DHB reached the target.
Dr Snee said while there had been a slight improvement, there was more work to be done.
"We are flagging enough patients for fast-track monitoring but not yet treating enough of them within 62 days of referral," he said.
"We are working to understand what the barriers are to making this happen and I have asked for a report back to the management team in January, and will expect to be able to report improvements in the next quarter."
For the Shorter Stays in Emergency Departments target, 92 per cent of patients were discharged or transferred - just short of the 95 per cent target.
Dr Snee said there were some very busy periods for Hawke's Bay Hospital in the last quarter, including the campylobacter outbreak during which the HBDHB coped well, largely due to the collaboration and help of community care and general practice.
"We do know we have a lot of work to improve the flow of patients through the hospital," he said.
"A plan is in place using the guidance of Dr Ian Sturgess, a world-renowned expert on improving patients' journey through hospital, which will help us sustain the emergency department target."
HBDHB ranked 17th in the improved Access to Elective Surgery target, one of six DHBs to miss the target.
Dr Snee said monitoring and tracking of elective surgery was a constant focus for theatre teams.
The Better Help for Smokers to Quit target was missed, which was the responsibility of primary health organisation Health Hawke's Bay.
Mr Snee said the HBDHB was working with Health Hawke's Bay on new ways to meet the target, including the programme Te Ara Whakawairua to promote smokefree pregnancies.
He said helping smokers to quit was a priority because it also affected the health of passive smokers.
All DHBs fell short of the new Raising Healthy Kids target but Dr Snee expected a Hawke's Bay improvement in the next quarter as data collection improved, he said.
He said HBDHB was tracking well to reach all targets over the coming year.
"While we would have liked to have reported better results to the community this quarter, we know we have a lot of work in place that will ensure next quarter's results are better."
The HBDHB continues to do well in the Increased Immunisation target.