A feature of the health targets performance by Waikato District Health Board (DHB) out today (Tuesday 26 August) is the exceptional team work shown by health professionals in both primary care and hospitals.
It is the health target “increased immunisation” which illustrates that co-operation best.
Waikato came very close to achieving the target of having 90 per cent of all children immunised by eight months old, falling short by only 31 children.
Medical officer of health Dr Felicity Dumble said together primary care and Waikato DHB would work to achieve 95 per cent coverage to prevent outbreaks of diseases covered by immunisation.
“The recent measles outbreak showed the vulnerability of those who are unvaccinated and how quickly the disease can spread in pockets of the population where coverage is low.
“The health sector needs to prioritise vaccination and ensure it is readily accessible for our community. It is very important that health professionals are well informed regarding the few true contraindications to vaccination.
“Generally, even if a child has a mild illness but no fever over 38 degrees, they can receive their vaccinations,” said Dr Dumble.
“Parents and care givers need to be supported to get their children vaccinated, and vaccinated on time, every time.
“A child’s first vaccinations should be at six weeks of age which offer protection against serious diseases that can have such significant consequences when they are so young,” she said.
Another successful result from primary care came in the Better help for Smokers to Quit where 84 per cent of patients who smoke and are seen by a health practitioner in primary care, are offered brief advice and support to quit smoking. The target is 90 per cent.
In Waikato DHB hospitals, the result was 96 per cent which Sue Hayward, director of nursing and midwifery, illustrated the collaboration and commitment staff have towards improving the long term health of patients and their families.
“Patients are supported to stop smoking prior, and or on admission, by being offered a variety of nicotine replacement therapies. On discharge support continues with ongoing treatments and support options.
“Having smoke free individuals and environment is one of the most significant improvements we can make to our population’s health, and with the support of the DHB staff this is slowly becoming a reality,” said Mrs Hayward.
Nearly 15,000 people received elective surgery at Waikato DHB – 1400 more than the target set by the Ministry of Health.
The acute six hour target of having 95 per cent of patients admitted, discharged or transferred from the DHB’s four emergency departments in Hamilton, Taumarunui, Thames and Tokoroa within six hours, came in at 93 per cent.
Emergency department nurse Lucas Fraser said the target improves the patient journey and can also improve outcomes and morbidity and mortality rates.
“It helps us improve patient comfort by transferring them out of a busy emergency department quicker and into a specialised ward/unit for further care and treatment.”
Primary care delivers the more heart and diabetes checks health target and reached 85 per cent – five per cent short of the target, a big improvement on quarter three’s 79 per cent.
Finally all 20 district health boards achieved the shorter waits for cancer treatment target. The target is all patients ready for treatment wait less than four weeks for radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
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