Public hospitals are run and owned, or funded, by District Health Boards (DHBs). DHBs are responsible for providing or funding the provision of health and disability services in their district.
Services that hospitals provide
Public hospitals are set up to provide quality acute care, and to ensure that as many people as possible have access to elective (non-acute) services.
Hospitals currently provide a variety of publicly funded health and disability services such as medical, surgical, maternity, diagnostic and emergency services. The range of services offered by an individual hospital is affected both by the size of the local population and the services offered by other hospitals in the region.
Hospital services are provided on an inpatient, daycase and outpatient basis, depending on the type of care that a patient needs:
- inpatients are admitted to hospital and stay overnight in hospital,
- daycase patients are admitted to hospital and discharged later the same day,
- outpatients attend clinics where they receive specialist services without being admitted to hospital.
Sometimes public hospitals provide services to private patients. Specific protocols agreed by Cabinet must be met for this to occur.
Elective services, often known simply as ‘Electives’, are medical or surgical services for people who do not need to be treated right away.
Reporting on hospital performance
Health Targets are a set of national performance measures specifically designed to improve the performance of health services, including hospitals. There are three Health Targets relating to hospital performance, which are:
- shorter stays in emergency departments
- improved access to elective surgery
- shorter waits for cancer treatment
DHBs supply data on various aspects of hospital services to national information collections managed by the Ministry of Health. The data forms the basis of reports on hospital performance. One such report is the caseload monitoring report that tracks the services delivered by DHB hospitals against annual service delivery plans.
The report gives a comparable picture of DHB performance. The users of the report are advised to contact the DHB or DHBs concerned, before drawing conclusions from the report.
Hospital surgical activity
The hospital surgical activity page provides information on patients (acute and elective) receiving publicly funded surgical treatment.
Some hospitals provide specialised treatment for cancer patients. The radiation treatment waiting times page measures the interval between the patient's first specialist assessment with the medical practitioner in the oncology department and the beginning of radiation treatment.
Hospital services are part of the activity of a district health board. More information about the community-based services that DHBs provide can be found in the primary health care section.