Patient Flow Indicators (ESPIs)

As a person moves through the Planned Care system there are a number of key decision points – from when the person is first referred for a specialist assessment, through assessment, diagnostic tests, treatment and follow up, to the point when the person returns to the care of their GP (or primary care provider).

Update: 5 December, 2019

Please note that due to issues associated with extracting data following Patient Administration System (PAS) upgrades, the ESPI results for Canterbury, MidCentral and Nelson Marlborough DHBs are not reflective of actual patient numbers.

DHBs and the Ministry of Health are working to resolve these issues and future publications should accurately reflect the correct number of patients.

Recent DHB performance has been impacted by an unprecedented level of industrial action by various workforce groups. There are also workforce and physical capacity constraints that DHBs are working hard to address.

National comparison of DHBs

The national comparison of DHBs table (pdf, 110 KB) provides a high-level comparative summary across all DHBs for each of the five indicators. It allows you to see both the actual result and also a standardised value, which means you can compare DHB results irrespective of their size.

National comparison of surgical services

The national comparison of surgical services table (pdf, 108 KB) compares surgical services (but not medical services) nationally. To see the results for your DHB, go to Summary of Elective Services Patient Flow Indicator results for each DHB.

Trends in DHB performance over the last 12 months

These tables provide DHB results for each indicator for the last 12 months.

Summary of ESPI results for each DHB

This report provides a summary view of the results for each of the ESPIs for each DHB. It also shows DHB ESPI performance by surgical specialty.

Go to Summary of Elective Services Patient Flow Indicator results for each DHB to read the report for your DHB.

Planned Care Interventions

Access to Planned Care is measured by the number of Planned Care Interventions provided, regardless of setting, (ie inpatient, outpatient or community) and provision of alternative models of care. Read more about Planned Care Interventions.


In August 2010 the ESPI 2 threshold was reduced from 2% to 1.5% and the ESPI 5 threshold was reduced from 5% to 4%.

In July 2012 the following changes to ESPIs were made:

  • The thresholds for ESPIs 2 and 5 were reduced to 0%.
  • The denominator for ESPI 2 changed from the number of patients seen in the previous 12 months to the total number of patients waiting for FSA at the end of the month. The denominator for ESPI 5 changed from the number of patients exited treated in the previous 12 months to the number of normal patients waiting for treatment at the end of the month.
  • ESPIs 4 and 7 ceased being reported.

In July 2013 the waiting times standard for ESPI 2 (FSA) and ESPI 5 (treatment) reduced to a maximum of 5 months.

In January 2015 the waiting times standard for ESPI 2 (FSA) and ESPI 5 (treatment) reduced to a maximum of 4 months.

In July 2016 the ESPI 1 definition changed so DHB services need to appropriately acknowledge and process more than 90% of patient referrals in 15 calendar days or less. (The 15 calendar days includes weekends and public holidays.) The previous timeframe was ‘within 10 working days’.

In July 2019 ESPI 6 ceased being reported.

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