The country's DHBs are on average falling shy of five out of six targets set by the Ministry of Health - but one target has seen a 14 per cent increase over the latest quarter.

In the January to March period this year, only the improved access to elective surgery target was met, with DHBs on average increasing the volume of elective surgeries by 4000 discharges per year.

However in many cases targets were close to being met, and a small number of underperforming DHBs could bring the average down for the rest.

Compared with last quarter, half of the target categories - reduced emergency department stays, faster cancer treatment and better help for smokers to quit - remained the same.


Increased immunisation dropped one percentage point compared with last quarter and improved access to elective surgery rose by one percentage point.

The biggest increase was seen in the raising healthy kids target, which rose from 72 per cent to 86 per cent.

The target is for 95 per cent of children identified as obese in the Before School Check programme will be offered a referral to a health professional.

The West Coast did the worst, with just 17 per cent of obese children referred, however came out on top in the shorter ED stays target, beating it by five percentage points to hit a 100 per cent achievement.

Previous critics of the Government initiative to try and reduce child obesity said numbers were low because parents were declining referrals.

Increased immunisation for eight-month-olds was only achieved in the South Canterbury district, however most other DHBs were only a few percentage points shy, bringing the performance to 93 per cent - just shy of the 95 per cent target.

Nearly half of all DHBs were meeting the target for emergency department wait times of under six hours and half were within four percentage points of meeting it.

Only the Waikato DHB lagged behind, reaching 88 per cent of the 95 per cent target.


Despite the target not being met, it was reported earlier this month that the initiative has likely saved thousands of lives, labelled an "extraordinary" finding by medical researchers.

Similarly, while most DHBs did not reach the 90 per cent target for offering PHO enrolled patients who smoke help quitting, DHBs as a whole were close to meeting it at 86 per cent.

The target for 85 per cent of cancer patients receiving their first treatment within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer was met by just five of the 20 DHBs, with Hawke's Bay and Whanganui at the bottom of the table with just 69 per cent each.