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Hawke's Bay situation unacceptable: Hodgson

13 April 2006

Hawke's Bay situation unacceptable: Hodgson

The situation faced by Hawke's Bay District Health Board should have been avoided, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Hawke's Bay DHB announced yesterday that 1,800 people who were waiting for a first specialist assessment (FSA) would be referred back to their GPs for care.

"It is unacceptable that Hawke's Bay DHB has found themselves in this position," Pete Hodgson said. "But since the Board allowed the numbers of people waiting for an assessment to get out of hand, I accept that they had no choice but to refer patients back to their GPs – that was the only ethically acceptable action to take.

"Indeed, the situation leading to yesterday's decision may have contravened Medical Council guidelines. The Council has been clear that health services have a duty to only accept referrals that they can handle within available resources.

"It is unacceptable that so many people in Hawke's Bay had their expectations raised unfairly. I hope every other DHB appreciates the consequences of promising more than they can deliver.

"The government's expectation is that elective services are run on the basis of clarity, timeliness and fairness. It appears that Hawke's Bay DHB has realised only now that their management of specialist assessments failed to deliver honesty and fairness for their patients.

"This is particularly disappointing because Hawke's Bay has performed strongly on surgery overall. Hawke's Bay has above average performance on 13 out of 14 common surgical procedures used as indicators by the Ministry of Health.

"The Ministry of Health will meet with Hawke's Bay DHB next week to help the Board work through the issues it faces in the immediate future and to work on improvements to the Board's processes."

Attached: Hawke's Bay standardised surgical discharge rates showing above average performance on 13 key indicators.


Hawkes Bay District Health Board residents
Standardised discharge rates by calendar year
Surgical discharges - marker procedures

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Angioplasties 1.52 1.46 1.79 1.55 1.75 1.87
Carpal Tunnel Procedures 1.24 0.77 0.77 0.91 1.01 1.00
Cataracts 1.45 1.25 1.21 1.63 1.54 1.47
Cholecystectomies 1.55 0.96 1.06 1.08 1.20 1.27
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts 1.93 1.66 1.50 1.33 1.21 1.16
Grommets 0.96 1.16 0.82 1.36 1.34 1.19
Heart Valve Replacements 2.23 1.81 1.57 1.50 1.13 1.62
Hysterectomies 1.21 1.38 1.48 1.48 1.37 2.02
Prostatectomies 1.80 1.31 1.47 1.90 1.87 1.63
Repairs of Hernia 1.19 0.95 1.04 1.16 1.03 0.97
Tonsils and Adenoids 1.26 1.45 1.00 1.40 1.50 1.27
Total Hip Replacements 2.01 1.67 1.58 1.41 1.52 1.73
Total Knee Replacements 1.86 1.41 1.41 1.33 1.43 1.44
Tubal Ligations 2.68 1.40 1.52 2.00 1.35 1.46

Marker procedure standardised discharge ratios by calendar year
Standardised by age group, ethnic group, sex and deprivation quintile
Casemix filter exclusions applied (Venturo prostatectomies have been included);
non DHB domiciled, sex=U and no dep events have been excluded
Note that 2000 is standardised using the 2001 population
Extracted 3 April 2006


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