Health targets

Health targets are a set of national performance measures specifically designed to improve the performance of health services that reflect significant public and government priorities. They provide a focus for action.

The impact they make can be measured to see how they are improving health for all New Zealanders. Three of the six health targets focus on patient access, and three focus on prevention.

This section provides information on the health targets, the reasons for them, who is responsible and how they are measured and reported on.

The 2014/15 health targets

Health targets are reviewed annually to ensure they align with health priorities. The current targets are listed below.

Shorter stays in emergency departments

95 percent of patients will be admitted, discharged, or transferred from an emergency department within six hours.

Improved access to elective surgery

The volume of elective surgery will be increased by at least 4000 discharges per year.

Shorter waits for cancer treatment

All patients, ready-for-treatment, wait less than four weeks for radiotherapy or chemotherapy. (Health target until the end of quarter one 2014/15)


Faster cancer treatment

85 percent of patients receive their first cancer treatment within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer and a need to be seen within two weeks by July 2016, increasing to 90 percent by June 2017. (Health target from quarter two 2014/15)

Increased immunisation

90 percent of eight months olds will have their primary course of immunisation (six weeks, three months and five months immunisation events) on time by July 2014 and 95 percent by December 2014.

Better help for smokers to quit

95 percent of hospitalised patients who smoke and are seen by a health practitioner in public hospitals and 90 percent of enrolled patients who smoke and are seen by a health practitioner in general practice are offered brief advice and support to quit smoking.

Within the target a specialised identified group will include progress towards 90 percent of pregnant women (who identify as smokers at the time of confirmation of pregnancy in general practice or booking with Lead Maternity Carer) are offered advice and support to quit.

More heart and diabetes checks

90 percent of the eligible population will have had their cardiovascular risk assessed in the last five years.

Latest health target results

Health target results are published four times a year. The 2014/15 July-September results are available now.

Health targets 2014/15 quarter one summary

Download the latest health target results (PDF, 98 KB)

In this section

  • Information on the 2014/15 health targets: Shorter stays in emergency departments; Improved access to elective surgery; Shorter waits for cancer treatment / Faster cancer treatment; Increased immunisation; Better help for smokers to quit; More heart and diabetes checks. Read more
  • This section includes the Ministry of Health reports on quarterly progress towards achieving agreed annual health targets with each district health board. Read more
  • District health boards report their progress against the health targets four times a year. They are ranked in each target area, and their results are reported publicly. Read more
  • Publications relating to the health targets, such as the booklets highlighting innovative approaches to improving services covered by the health targets. Read more
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