Lakes District Health Board is putting several new measures in place to reduce the number of people spending more than six hours in the emergency department.

Shorter stays in the department is one of several national health targets laid down by the Ministry of Health, with the aim of having 95 per cent of people waiting less than six hours. The Lakes District Health Board rate is 93 per cent.

Chief executive Ron Dunham said a significantly busier few months in the emergency department as well as disruption from the construction programme at Taupo Hospital had an impact on the board not reaching the result.

The health board is trialling new ideas to help reduce the waiting times, including an awareness campaign that it's not just an emergency department target but an organisation-wide "acute patient flow target", including direct involvement from Mr Dunham.

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"This sees the chief executive co-operating with operational teams when it starts to look as though patients will possibly be sitting for longer than six hours in the emergency department."

Mr Dunham also had projects under way, including one in the medical unit which was initiating nurse-led discharges to help free up beds, and allow patients in the emergency department to be admitted to the ward.

Meanwhile, the health target for more heart and diabetes checks has again improved in the Lakes district - up 10 points to 84 per cent.

This result is almost within reach of the July 2014 target of 90 per cent of the eligible population to have had their cardiovascular risk assessed in the past five years, and the health board was pleased with the progress.

Lakes also exceeded the target for the number of 8-month-olds who had their immunisations on time, sitting at 92 per cent which is higher than the current target of 90 per cent but lower than the 95 per cent target that will come in at the end of the year.

Mr Dunham said the health board could be pleased with the result, as immunisation was one of the most important health interventions they could achieve for children and the general public.

Lakes exceeded the target for providing patients who are smokers better advice and support to quit. The target is 95 per cent with Lakes reaching 98 per cent.

The Lakes results for the achievement of the primary care smoking target have risen from 55 to 66 per cent - still short of the target of 90 per cent.

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The health board exceeded the targets for improved access to elective surgery and shorter waits for cancer treatment.

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