Health Targets should be seen within the context of the broader health priority that they are part of. They are indicative of progress in a wider range of services provided in each priority area. The Targets are also one part of a comprehensive performance management and accountability system in the health sector. They are designed to challenge the health system as a whole to continue to do better.
Where appropriate, each DHB has negotiated local targets taking into account local conditions and the health needs of their communities. While each DHB has a local target, they will collectively contribute to a national improvement in those target areas.
Health targets are the joint responsibility of the Ministry of Health and DHBs. If each DHB achieves its target or makes positive progress, the performance of the country as a whole will improve. The Ministry of Health is assisting to do this and providing leadership through a ‘champion’ for each target.
Health Targets explained
A target is a level of performance that we aim to achieve against a specific ‘indicator’, within a health area. In the performance improvement setting we look to goals, indicators and targets within a health area.
- A target is achievable, therefore realistic, with a timeframe to meet it (eg, improve immunisation coverage for the year 2007/08).
- An indicator is also time-limited, but more measurable, and specific (eg, the number of two-year-olds fully immunised by 30 June 2008).
- A target area is a programme where we have a target (eg, Well Child).
- A goal is longer-term in nature and will require effort over a number of years (eg, increase immunisation coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases to 95 percent).
The table on page 4 shows the Health Target areas and indicators for 2007/08.
The Health Targets reflect our health priorities
Health Targets will only ever capture a small part of what is necessary and important to the health of New Zealanders. The emphasis is on providing a greater focus for action and lifting performance in important priority health and disability areas.
The New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 requires the New Zealand Health Strategy and the New Zealand Disability Strategy to be in place to provide the framework for the health and disability sector’s overall direction. The Ministry’s priorities for 2007 and beyond are set within the context of these strategies and the recently announced priorities of the Government for the next decade.
Our current information limits our ability to identify the health outcomes for populations living with disabilities. This will be an area of focus for the Health Targets work programme in the future.
The 10 Health Target areas for 2007/08 will help us measure progress against achieving the Government’s priority areas for health improvement. Along with addressing inequalities across population groups, improving Ma¯ori health and improving access for populations living with disabilities, these priority areas are:
- getting ahead of the chronic disease burden
- child and youth services
- primary health care
- health of older people
- elective services
- value for money.
The selection of the specific targets within these priority areas was based on the principle that achieving the targets will make a significant contribution to improving health outputs or outcomes in these areas. There is enough detailed information available to allow that performance to be measured.
Many targets are directly influenced by DHBs as either funder and/or provider of services in their local area. Some targets require collective and collaborative action by the Ministry, DHBs and other providers (eg, non-governmental organisations).
We aim to keep the set of Health Targets stable. It is important to have a core set of targets over a 3–5-year period that does not change so that we can measure progress consistently. However the targets and indicators within those programmes will be reviewed annually to ensure they reflect the important health priorities of the day.
We will, over time as information and service developments improve, be able to identify more specific indicators for vulnerable populations, including Maori, Pacific, low income and people living with disabilities, who have difficulty accessing health services.