Mixed bag for Lakes' health target results

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The Lakes District Health Board's latest health target results are a mixed bag. PHOTO/FILE
The Lakes District Health Board's latest health target results are a mixed bag. PHOTO/FILE

Lakes District Health Board has lifted its performance for getting patients faster cancer treatment but it's still significantly lagging behind the national target.

New target figures also reveal the health board also needs to make improvements with quick service in the emergency department, getting children immunised and helping people to quit smoking.

The previous quarter result showed a drop to 47 per cent, against the target of 85 per cent for patients to receive their first cancer treatment (or other management) within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer.

That had gone up 9 points this quarter to 56 per cent, but was still well behind the target of 85 per cent.

This quarter's results cover those patients who received their first cancer treatment between January 1 and June 30.

Medicine Services Manager Jane Chittenden said a huge amount of work had been done in the last few months to get back on track.

This has included the setting up of a working party to identify ways to improve, an increased focus on the front end of the cancer pathway from referral, the development of a breach reports to help in tracking patients and refresher training for the cancer nurse team.

Jane Chittenden said lifting the achievement by nine points over the quarter might not seem huge, but it represented an enormous commitment.

She said the framework was now clearly laid out, and with better engagement and support from senior management, clinicians and administrative staff, Lakes was expecting a dramatic lift in its achievement in this target in the next quarter.

Lakes remained at 89 per cent for the shorter stays in ED target. The target is 95 per cent of patients will be admitted, discharged or transferred from an ED within six hours, and is a measure of the efficiency of flow of acute patients through public hospitals, and home again.

Clinical Services acting general manager Nick Saville-Wood said the ED target result continued to be disappointing.

He said health experts had been working with the DHB, with the aim of embedding changes across the system, and while much had been done, the achievement against the target has not been as quick as they had hoped for.

He said it would take some time to see significant improvement as the changes required were across the whole hospital, and not just the emergency department.

Lakes has fallen from 96 per cent in quarter three to 91 per cent in the fourth quarter in its immunisation target.

Portfolio manager for maternal and child health, Pip King said the drop was due to a mixture of families declining to have their children immunised and immunisations being late.

The DHB is looking at systems and processes to see how it can be made easier for families to have their babies immunised opportunistically, when they happen to turn up at a health service perhaps for another reason.

Lakes was one point below the better help for smokers to quit target, which is for 90 per cent of PHO enrolled patients who smoke, have been offered help to quit smoking by a health care practitioner in the last 15 months.

Lakes has two PHOs - Midlands Health Network (Lakes - in the southern part of the district) met the target, while Rotorua Area Primary Health Services (RAPHS) fell just short at 88 per cent, but moved up from its really disappointing result in the third quarter of 67 per cent. Lakes met the hospital and maternity smoking targets for quarter four.

For the more heart and diabetes checks, Midlands Health Network achieved an excellent 92 per cent result while RAPHS had a result of 88 per cent. When the PHO figures are combined, Lakes is one point below the 90 per cent target for more heart and diabetes checks.

Lakes chief executive Ron Dunham said like most health services, GP practices were under their greatest pressure during winter months.

He said it's very pleasing to see RAPHS lift its smoking results, and to see Midlands meet the smoking target and exceed the more heart and diabetes checks target.

He said with some additional effort the PHO results in the areas of smoking help, immunisation and more heat and diabetes checks could further improve.

Lakes also improved access to elective surgery. It has a target of 100 per cent and 102 per cent was achieved this quarter.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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