Canterbury Health System continues impressive post-quake performance

Tuesday May 29, 2012

Canterbury's Health System continues to achieve national health targets despite ongoing quake related challenges.

David Meates, Canterbury District Health Board chief executive, says while having to work around damaged hospital infrastructure and stretched facilities, the third quarter results out today show Canterbury is still managing to meet targets in key areas like elective surgery.

Mr Meates attributes the success to innovative solutions to extraordinary problems achieved through a whole of health system approach built on trust and alliances and the resilience, creativity and ongoing commitment of Canterbury's health professionals.

"I am extremely proud of what we have achieved. Right across Canterbury we are faced with damaged buildings and disrupted services, which makes our collective achievement all the more remarkable."

Mr Meates says CDHB is working towards developing the right models of care to fit a unique and changing Canterbury demographic.

"We have more older people than any other DHB and also expect an influx of young families, drawn to the area by the Christchurch rebuild and the opportunities it offers," Mr Meates says.

"But for now, we have the additional challenges winter brings, made worse by cold and damp homes."

People living poorly insulated and heated homes are more susceptible to the flu, or respiratory illnesses such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.

"Our goal is to support people to stay well in their homes and communities so that hospitals and secondary care expertise is freed up for the people who have no other option."

To stay well this winter: keep warm, get your flu shot and if you have chronic illness such as COPD or cardiovascular disease, get an early winter health assessment from your General Practice Team to make sure you have the medications and a plan of what to do if you become unwell.

Highlights from the Canterbury Health System's performance these past three months:

In Quarter Three, Canterbury has:


  • the ED Health Target for the fifth consecutive quarter, with 95 percent of people admitted or discharged within 6 hours;
  • the Cancer Radiation Therapy Health Target for the fourth consecutive quarter, with 100 percent of patients beginning radiation therapy treatment within 4 weeks of their specialist assessment; 
  • 101 percent of the year-to-date Elective Services Health Target, delivering 11,932 elective surgical discharges during the nine months to 31 March 2012;


  • Immunisation Health Target performance above pre-quake levels, with 93 percent of all two year olds fully immunised, and increased rates for Pacific children to 99 percent – 4 percent above the national target;
  • performance by 7 percent against the Hospitalised Smokers Health Target, with 86 percent of hospitalised smokers receiving help and advice to quit. CHDB will continue to focus on clinical leadership, training and improved monitoring to continue momentum towards the national target of 95 percent.

More Heart and Diabetes Checks - A new national target of 60 percent of the eligible enrolled adult population to have had a cardiovascular (CVD) risk assessment in the last five years by July 1, 2012 has been published for the first time this quarter. This measure is a component of the national PHO Performance Programme (PPP).

The late inclusion of Canterbury's largest PHO in the CVD components of the PPP has resulted in a Quarter 3 result of 18 percent.  The PHO was not collecting and providing the data in the CVD Risk Assessment component of the PPP up until about 15 months ago, compared with 57 months among some other DHBs.

Canterbury's primary care teams have been focusing on addressing the immediate needs of their earthquake-affected populations, including the provision of acute demand packages of care, brief intervention counselling and free flu vaccinations for under 18 year olds.

Canterbury PHOs are now focusing their efforts on ensuring that populations of highest risk (Māori, Pacific, high deprivation and those with high risk factor profiles) receive comprehensive risk assessments first.

The CDHB anticipates being able to report a steady improvement towards the national target in future quarters.

More specific information on each of the health targets can be found on the Ministry of Health's website at

Page last reviewed: 24 July 2013