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DHBs must continue to focus on targets.

HEALTH MINISTER Jonathan Coleman says district health boards (DHBs) must continue to focus on national health targets and operate within allocted funding.

In his recently-released Letter of expectations for DHBs and subsidiary entities 2015/16 to DHB chairs, he said the national health targets had resulted in major improvements in health outcomes. DHBs must remain focused on "achieving and improving against the targets, particularly primary care targets". The 62-day faster cancer treatment indicator had become the cancer health target, with a target achievement level of 85 per cent by July 2016, increasing to 90 per cent by July 2017.

The minister expects elective surgery access to be boosted by $50 million of new funding to target orthopaedic and general surgery.

DHBs must have detailed plans to "improve year-on-year financial performance", including seeking efficiency gains and improvements in purchasing, productivity, quality and service delivery. "You and your board must monitor and hold your chief executive accountable against these expectations, as keeping to budget allows investment into new and more health initiatives," the letter stated.

Improvements through national, regional and sub-regional initiatives must continue to be a key focus for all DHBs.

Strong clinical leadership

The minister said strong clinical leadership and involvement should be embedded and "used in all aspects of DHBs' core business, eg budgeting and service deisgn". DHBs are expected to detail in their annual plans how they will foster clinical leadership.

The minister expects DHBs to move services closer to home and to have clear evidence of how they plan to do this.

A stocktake of what works to reduce obesity is underway and the minister expects all DHBs to consider how they can help reduce obesity.

The letter said a key government priority was reducing the number of children living in material hardship. The minister expects DHBs to support cross-agency work "that delivers outcomes for children" in health, education, social and justice areas.

The Ministry of Health is to update the New Zealand Health Strategy. Once completed, this would provide DHBs and the wider health sector with "a clear strategic direction and road map for delivery of health services into the future", the minister said.

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Title Annotation:news & events; district health boards
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Mar 1, 2015
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