New headline health targets have been set by the Government - covering pregnancy care and hospital admissions.

Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman released the new "better public service" targets today:

• By 2021, have 90 per cent of pregnant women registered with a lead maternity carer in the first trimester, with an interim target of 80 per cent by 2019. Lead maternity carers connect mother and child with other health services such as immunisation and oral health services.

In 2015, 67 per cent of women registered with a carer in the first trimester.


• By 2021, achieve a 25 per cent reduction in hospital admission rates for a group of avoidable conditions in children aged 0-12 years, with an interim target of 15 per cent by 2019. The conditions include dental conditions, respiratory conditions, skin conditions and head injuries.

The new targets replace two previous health-focused BPS targets.

The Government had set a goal of reducing the rheumatic fever rate from 4 cases per 100,000 people to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people by mid-2017.

The rate hit a low of 2.4 cases per 100,000 people in mid-2015, but has since risen again to 3.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Budget 2017 cut funding for rheumatic fever from $10 million a year to $5m a year.

The other previous target was to have 95 per cent of infants aged 8 months complete their primary course of immunisation on time. Since December 2014 the immunisation rate at age 8 months has remained steady at between 93 per cent and 94 per cent each quarter.