Huge improvements in health services

11 April 2016

Health services in Gisborne have vastly improved in the past two years and many more people have received the treatment they need, says Hauora Tairāwhiti board chairman David Scott. “Reports from a number of sources detail small and large improvements in quality developed by Hauora Tairāwhiti and staff from other health care providers. This includes our ACC safety audit, details of new clinics we have started, and the information gathered for the Certification Audit.”

“Part of the credit for our huge improvement in the first instance should go to our primary health practices, the GPs and their staff.

“They have used their skills and energy to help build a healthier Tairāwhiti. Likewise, specialist services, after-care, promotional health and non-government organisations provide a high quality service.”

Mr Scott said chief executive Jim Green and Dr Richard Moore, clinical director, medical/mental health, had ‘‘headed the charge” in improving medical services. “High calibre” clinical staff had been recruited, including staff with sub-specialities such as diabetes and gerontology.

There were few clinical vacancies — radiology being one exception — which reduced the cost of hiring locums on short-term contracts. Scott said the current situation had completely reversed compared to the time of the Gisborne cervical inquiry 16 years ago — “when people did not want to come here’’.

More specialist appointments

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said more people in Tairāwhiti than ever before were receiving their first specialist assessment (FSA). “In 2015, 7707 Tairāwhiti patients received a medical or surgical FSA, compared to 6175 in 2009 — that’s a 25 percent increase,” said Dr Coleman.

More elective surgery

The Minister of Health’s ‘‘champion” for the elective surgery health target, Clare Perry, said Hauora Tairāwhiti had performed 1474 elective surgery discharges in the quarter to December, which was 230 discharges more than planned. The health board was 18.5 percent up on the national target, and was up 24.7 percent on the previous quarter.

As an example, 53 additional people above Hauora Tairāwhiti targets had received joint replacement surgery. “That is surgery worth approximately $1 million,” said Mr Scott.

More treated in Gisborne

“More patients are treated in Gisborne. That’s huge — it means fewer people having to travel to Waikato Hospital for treatment. “Clinical staff are saying ‘let’s do it here’.” The board had invested in high-quality equipment during the past five years, which had replaced aging equipment and improved diagnostic capabilities.

Increasing patient services and meeting the health target waiting time requirement had contributed to Hauora Tairāwhiti’s deficit.