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Launch of Hutt Cardiac Continuum of Care programme

5 May 2004

Launch of Hutt Valley Cardiac Continuum of Care programme

Health Minister Annette King has launched the Hutt Valley Cardiac Continuum of Care programme - the first of its kind in the country, and a key plank in the DHB's response to the Government's New Zealand Health and Primary Health Care Strategies.

Thank you for inviting me here tonight to share such a good-news occasion with you.

And thank you, Peter, not only for your introduction, but for the District Health Board's support for an initiative as innovative and forward-thinking as the Hutt Valley Cardiac Continuum of Care programme.

It is a real pleasure to be asked to launch the programme, and I know many people have worked hard to bring the programme to fruition.

In particular, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Hutt Valley DHB's planning and funding team; the Cardiology Department, and in particular head cardiologist Tim O'Meegan; the range of primary care providers such as the GPs who responded to the consultation programme; Kowhai Health who worked with the DHB to achieve this initiative; and the DHB's Community and Public Health Advisory Committee for its encouragement of community-based initiatives.

As Health Minister I am really impressed with Hutt Valley DHB's dedication to improving and maintaining the health of its population and restoring their health when they are unwell. I know you are working hard with those groups in your population that have poor health or are missing out on services. This programme is a perfect illustration of your dedication and commitment to preventing hospitalisations and improving your community's overall wellbeing.

I am sure this is a very proud day for you all, as well as an exciting day for those who will be involved in delivering the Cardiac Continuum of Care programme.

The programme is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is the first of its kind in the country, and is a key plank in the DHB's response to the Government's New Zealand Health Strategy and its Primary Health Care Strategy.

Secondly, it is aimed at caring for people who have newly diagnosed cardiac or hypertension complaints. This launch is being combined with an education campaign for Hutt Valley GPs and practice nurses to introduce them to the programme.

I am sure you are all aware that reducing the incidence and impact of cardiovascular disease is a key goal of both the New Zealand Health Strategy and the Primary Health Care Strategy. Lifestyle risk factors for cardiac disease include smoking, lack of exercise, diet and obesity.

All these areas are covered in the New Zealand Health Strategy's Priority Health Objectives and are a key focus in Hutt Valley DHB's Cardiac Continuum of Care programme. Encouraging people to make informed lifestyle choices is a crucial part of the programme.

As the New Zealand Health Strategy states, "Primary health care is delivered close to communities with their participation and is a key to improving and maintaining health through programmes to promote health, prevent disease and provide early diagnosis and treatment of illnesses to prevent complications developing."

So it is heartening to see that this initiative by Hutt Valley DHB is very much in line with the Government's strategy. By funding GP practices to provide education, skills and information to those who show early signs of heart disease, the DHB is taking a positive step in the right direction towards improved care for the people of the Hutt Valley. It is becoming well recognised that giving patients the skills and information to do things for themselves will improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.

This programme offers early education and lifestyle counselling and community-based self-management courses. Until now, education has only been available at no cost within the hospital setting to those who have already had a cardiac event. In other words, this programme moves the emphasis back to prevention and education in the primary care setting where the opportunity is still available to avert chronic disease.

The Primary Health Care Strategy promotes co-ordination between primary and secondary care. The development of this continuum has been the result of wide consultation and hard work, and collaboration between doctors and nurses and between hospital services and primary care. I want to congratulate all those involved for working together in such a productive way.

It is a fantastic example to your peers throughout the health sector, and I hope they take note. The Cardiac Continuum of Care's focus on integrating services across primary/secondary and community sectors will: · Improve access to diagnostics and specialists clinics; · Support patients who have had a cardiac event back to the GP for ongoing management; · Facilitate referral to community providers of services such as smoking cessation and exercise classes.

As many of you will know, the promotion of primary health care nursing is part of the Primary Health Care Strategy. Specialist training, raising the profile and funding specific sessions for nurse-based education -- as this programme does -- enhances the role of primary care nursing and makes it more appealing and rewarding, which in turn aids recruitment and retention.

Effective infrastructure for information collection and sharing is being facilitated through patient record templates that will enable monitoring of a patient's condition, recording of data, and will facilitate future planning and ongoing service development.

Last week I visited Waitakere to listen to a presentation of an initiative being taken by HealthWEST Primary Health Organisation designed to reduce mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. Initiatives such as that one, and the one I am launching tonight, give me great confidence that we are going down the right track in health in New Zealand. So thank you very much again.

This programme really is an exciting step forward and a major move by the Hutt Valley DHB towards improved care for cardiac patients. I applaud this initiative and declare it well and truly launched. I now look forward to following its progress with interest.


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