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Smoking, A Killer Target Achieved

Media Release

Date: Tuesday 27 November 2012

Smoking, A Killer Target Achieved

Waikato District Health Board (DHB) has achieved a health target which chief executive Craig Climo often says is the “easiest” one of them all.

Last month, 95 per cent of all people seen by health practitioners in the DHB’s hospitals were asked if they smoked and, then if they did, offered brief advice and support to quit.

The 2012-13 quarter one health target results published today for the period July to September this year show Waikato sitting at 93 per cent for the smoking target.

“It took us a long time to get to that and now we are at 95 per cent, we are not going to ease up,” director of nursing and midwifery Sue Hayward said of last month’s figure.

“It’s one of the very big differences we can make on health outcomes for our region,” she said. “And it’s as simple as asking the question, ‘do you smoke?’".

The health targets also show Waikato DHB is well ahead of its elective surgery target and chief operating officer Jan Adams says figures to the end of October continued that trend.

“In five years the number of elective operations we’ve done at Waikato DHB has gone from 10,131 to 13,589 a year. That’s 3458 more people to benefit from the skills of our clinicians,” she said.

Waikato DHB has achieved that while in the middle of a $500 million building programme. The number of operating theatres will increase overall so in the interim the DHB outsources elective work to private hospitals in Hamilton and South Auckland and to neighbouring DHBs.

The plan is to bring much of the private elective work back in-house from 2014.

The all of hospital target of having 95 per cent of people admitted, discharged or transferred from emergency department, within six hours, saw Waikato slip back.

There was an increase in paediatric cases, particularly respiratory tract infections which put pressure on hospital beds.

This meant on some occasions children were nursed for an extended period of time in the emergency department instead of in a ward.

Work is now underway on addressing the number of paediatric beds required for the winter periods.

“Waikato ED continues to show a growth in presentations over and above what one could expect purely from population growth,” Mrs Adams said.

“It is important to note there have been many actions taken to achieve better patient care. To do this, we have focused on our systems because the focus is not, and should not solely be, on what occurs in the emergency department. What happens there is part of the whole patient journey.”

At tomorrow’s board meeting (Wednesday 28 November), members will have a presentation from Midlands Health Network which Mrs Adams said should positively impact on Waikato Hospital’s emergency department presentations.

In other health target results, Waikato had 100 percent of patients, who were ready-for-treatment, receive their radiotherapy and chemotherapy within four weeks of the decision to treat.

And 60 per cent of Waikato’s eligible population had their cardiovascular risk assessed in the last five years. The current stage is to achieve 75 per cent by July 2013.

Read more information on Waikato DHB’s health targets.

Check out our media releases on or

About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato:

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 372,865 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $1.2 billion and employs more than 6000 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB’s main provider of hospital and health services with an annual budget of more than $701 million and 5238 staff. It has six groups across five hospital sites, three primary birthing units, two continuing care facilities and 20 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

A wide range of independent providers deliver other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories.


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