Waikato, Capital and Coast are the worst-performing DHBs in the country when it comes to the Government's push for emergency department waits shorter than six hours.
District health boards must comply with the target that 95 per cent of ED patients are admitted to a ward, transferred or discharged within six hours.
But up to 10 patients wait longer than that for treatment at Waikato Hospital's emergency department every day.
The health targets, introduced in 2009, include improved access to elective surgery, shorter waits for cancer treatment, increased immunisation, quit smoking help, and heart and diabetes checks.
The 2012/13 second quarter results are released today and show Auckland is ninth and on target with 95 per cent in ED wait times.
At the top of the rankings is West Coast on 100 per cent, followed by Waitemata, Wanganui and Nelson-Marlborough, all above target on 97 per cent.
Waikato Hospital bosses front-footed the poor performance yesterday, telling media the ED wait time score of 88 per cent was a "gut-wrenching" disappointment. However it would not compromise on quality of care or risk patient death to comply with the target, according to Waikato Hospital ED clinical director Dr John Bonning.
"We continue to think that it's a really good idea but we really want to make sure that it's not about shunting people from one room to the next ... where they may not get the right care, they may not get quality care."
Dr Bonning said Waikato Hospital ED would not fall victim to gaming the manipulation of compliance that occurred in Britain for its four-hour target. The temptation to let patients languish in a unit outside ED to meet the target had resulted in disastrous consequences there.
"It's just so important that they just don't go and sit in a room and wait and deteriorate ... we've just got to make sure that there are no adverse patient outcomes, deaths and the like, as a result of chasing this target."
Group manager of Waikato and Thames hospitals Mark Spittal said staff were "extremely disappointed to be among the two at the bottom of the league table". "We have been working extremely hard for some time to lift our game."
A big part of the problem was the increase in car crashes and sports injuries, often fuelled by alcohol, he said.
The percentage of patients each DHB has admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours, as per government targets
100 per cent West Coast
97 per cent Waitemata, Wanganui, Nelson Marlborough
96 per cent South Canterbury, Counties Manukau, Tairawhiti, Wairarapa
95 per cent Auckland
94 per cent Canterbury, Hawkes Bay, Northland
93 per cent Taranaki
92 per cent Hutt Valley, Lakes, Bay of Plenty
91 per cent MidCentral
90 per cent Southern
88 per cent Capital & Coast, Waikato