New Elective Services Website
New Elective Services Website sets World Standard in Transparency
INFORMATION on elective services will be more up to date and easily available with the launch of a new website http://www.electiveservices.org.nz, Ministry of Health spokesperson Brenda Bromell said today.
The website colour-codes the monthly performance of DHBs in carrying out elective services (non-urgent health treatments), and is available online from today. Previously this information was published quarterly, and only in the form of a paper-based report.
"The website contains information that is, as far as we know, unavailable publicly in any other country. We're really pleased that this level of transparency is possible." said Ms Bromell, Ministry of Health Elective Services Project Manager.
The new website data is portrayed in a simple manner, reporting on DHB performance against a small number of key Elective Services Performance Indicators (ESPIs). This information can be viewed both nationally and by DHB.
"The indicators have two functions: firstly, they help DHBs assess their performance and address any areas that need improvement, and secondly, publishing them provides the community with an opportunity to gather information about the provision of health services."
The launch of the website comes at a time when the number of New Zealanders waiting for elective services without certainty of treatment or a plan of care has been reduced substantially. In 1996, 89,000 New Zealanders were waiting without any advice about whether or when they would be seen. Now that figure has reduced to around 12,000 and is continuing to decline.
"While there still a lot of work to be done it is important to acknowledge the achievements that have been made in turning the system around, said Ms Bromell.
"Since 1996, GPs, clinicians, and hospital managers have put an enormous amount of time and energy into ensuring that people have good, clear information about their care. Now with the elective services website, DHBs can clearly see where they stand in managing elective services."
"It's important that patients have accurate information about whether or when they can be seen and treated. Patients must be seen and treated in order of greatest need, and all patients must have a plan for their care."
The data will be updated monthly, and there is a lag time of two months between reporting and public release. The accuracy and completeness of the data is subject to ongoing improvement.
The website includes contact details and a commentary from each DHB. People accessing the site can familiarise themselves with elective services policy by reading the Frequently Asked Questions before looking at the data. Alternatively, a tutorial is available on the site.
National minimum standards for elective services were set out by the Government in March 2000, in the strategy entitled "Reduced Waiting Times for Public Hospital Elective Services".
They measure progress towards the Government's expectations of:
a maximum waiting time of six months for first specialist assessment; and that as part of the assessment process patients are told: they will receive treatment within the next six months; or that publicly funded treatment is not available to people with their level of need at that time, and that they will be cared for by their specialist and/or GP who will provide them with a plan of care.