From the Director-General of Health, Stephen McKernan:
I am pleased to present the results of the first year of Health Targets – 2007/08. When we launched Health Targets in August 2007, we recognised that they would capture a small part of what is necessary and important to the health of New Zealanders – the aim was to provide a greater focus for action and lift health system performance in priority health and disability areas.
The New Zealand health system has made significant progress across all 10 Health Target areas in the 2007/08 year.
- 4900 more two-year-olds were immunised, with coverage for all two-year-olds enrolled in the National Immunisation Register (NIR) at a national high of 76% – an increase of 9% in the past year.
- An additional 1800 adolescents accessed dental services.
- There has been an 8.7% increase in the number of elective discharges with almost 12,000 more electives.
- Cancer waiting times now see 97% of patients starting radiation treatment within eight weeks, and 65% of these within four weeks.
- There were 1120 fewer avoidable hospital admissions (ASH), an important marker of improved access and quality of primary health care.
- There have been 5% more free annual diabetes checks.
- There has been a 16% increase in up-to-date relapse prevention plans for mental health services clients.
- New Zealanders are eating more fruit and vegetables.
- There are now almost 36,000 Year 10 students who have never smoked and 75% of homes where children and smokers live are now smoke free indoors.
- On track to achieve the Ministry’s 2009/10 spending reduction target.
All Health Targets are indicators of progress against the Government’s strategies and priority policies. These strategies and policies include, but are not limited to, the Primary Health Care Strategy, Oral Health Action Plan, Cancer Control Plan, Quality Improvement Plan for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes, Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, Clearing the Smoke – Action Plan for Tobacco Control, Healthy Eating–Healthy Action and the Government’s objectives for Elective Services.
There is always room to improve further. Work on the first year of Health Targets has identified many things we can do better – we must learn from the best performers locally and internationally and support the spread of proven service improvements to accelerate achievement of national Health Targets.
Additional analysis of Health Targets against inequality indicators will be available on the Ministry of Health website. In addition, work is ongoing to improve access for populations living with disabilities.
I especially want to acknowledge the hard work and contribution of District Health Boards (DHBs), Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) and their primary health care providers, NGOs and the many thousands of health professionals who form the wider health system team. These targets make a significant contribution to the health of New Zealanders.
I look forward to working with you on next year’s Health Targets.
Director-General of Health