Health targets: Better help for smokers to quit

The Government has directed the Ministry of Health to develop a new set of performance measures to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

While work is underway to develop these new measures DHBs will continue to report to the Ministry against the current set of health targets, as well as against a previously established suite of wider measures.

See the Health targets page for more information on the development of new measures.

What is the target?

  • 90% of PHO enrolled patients who smoke have been offered help to quit smoking by a health care practitioner in the last 15 months.
  • 90% of pregnant women who identify as smokers upon registration with a DHB-employed midwife or Lead Maternity Carer are offered brief advice and support to quit smoking.

From quarter one 2015/16 the primary care target shifted its focus to the entire enrolled population of people who smoke and not only those seen in primary care, and covers advice provided over 15 months, instead of 12 months.

From quarter one 2016/17 the hospital component of the target is no longer reported as a health target. This change was made after the 95% target was met for several consecutive quarters. The hospital target results will continue to be published on the Ministry’s website along with the maternity target results.

Note the maternity target remains developmental and reported results cover only a proportion of pregnant women who identify as smokers.

Why is this target area important?

Smoking kills an estimated 5000 people in New Zealand every year, and smoking-related diseases are a significant opportunity cost to the health sector. Most smokers want to quit, and there are simple effective interventions that can be routinely provided in both primary and secondary care.

This target is designed to prompt providers to routinely ask about smoking status as a clinical ‘vital sign’ and then to provide brief advice and offer quit support to current smokers. There is strong evidence that brief advice is effective at prompting quit attempts and long-term quit success. The quit rate is improved further by the provision of effective cessation therapies – pharmaceuticals, in particular nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and telephone or face-to-face support.

Who is the target champion?

John McMenamin Target Champion (Primary Care).

Dr John McMenamin
Target Champion (Primary Care)

Previous targets

  • In 2009/10, the target was that 80% of hospitalised smokers would be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2010.
  • In 2010/11, the target was that 90% of hospitalised smokers would be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2011.
  • In 2011/12, the target was that 95% of hospitalised smokers would be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2012.
  • In 2012/13 and 2014/15, the target was that 95% of hospitalised smokers and 90% of patients who smoke and are seen by a health practitioner in primary care would be provided with advice and help to quit.
  • In 2015/16 the target was that 90% of PHO enrolled patients who smoke have been offered help to quit smoking by a health care practitioner in the last 15 months. The hospital and maternity target results were published on the Ministry’s website only.
  • In 2016/17 the hospital results were no longer reported as a health target. Results continue to be published on the Ministry’s website.
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