What We Do

​​The Canterbury Way: A whole system approach

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Health begins where we live and work, learn and play. Canterbury DHB's commitment to supporting people to stay well in the community means we partner with a range of other agencies to support healthy lifestyles.

We are focused on developing services in primary care and the community that will support people to stay well and take increased responsibility for their own health.

The Canterbury DHB makes the best possible use of funding received from Government to purchase and provide health and disability services for a diverse Canterbury population. In accordance with legislation, we use this funding to:

  • Plan the strategic direction of the Canterbury Health System, in partnership with clinical leaders, consumers and our alliance partners and in consultation with other DHBs, service providers and our community;

  • Fund the majority of the health services provided in Canterbury, and through our partnerships and relationships with service providers, ensure services are responsive and coordinated;

  • Provide hospital and specialist services for the population of Canterbury, and also for people referred from other DHBs where appropriate​ services are not available; and

  • Promote, protect and improve our population's health and wellbeing through health promotion, education and evidence-based public health initiatives.

Staying Well

People are healthier and take greater responsibility for their own health

New Zealand is experiencing an increase in conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Tobacco smoking, inactivity, poor nutrition and rising obesity rates are major contributors to poor health, and a number of other long-term conditions that affect our communities. These are risks that can be avoided and even prevented through a supportive environment where people are helped to make healthy choices. By increasing awareness and encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing, we can help our communities have a better quality of life and delay, or even avoid, the impact of debilitating long-term conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

We plan to support:

  • people to be smoke free

  • people to stay fit and healthy through better eating and exercise habits

  • mothers to breastfeed their babies for as long as possible.

  • ​People stay well in their own homes and communities​

For most people, their first point of contact with the health service is their general practice team. These primary and community services help people stay well by providing earlier intervention, diagnostics and treatment and by providing advice and support to help people manage their illness or long term conditions. Services employ the skills of a range of health professionals including midwives, community nurses, social workers, personal health providers and pharmacists.

When people are supported to stay well in the community, they need fewer hospital-level interventions and shorter stays when they need hospital care.  This is not only a better health outcome for our population, but it reduces the rate of acute hospital admissions and frees up health resources. Studies show countries with strong primary and community care systems have lower rates of death from heart disease, cancer and stroke, and achieve better health outcomes and at a lower cost than countries with systems that focus on specialist level care.​

What we plan to do:​​

  • Improve management of long-term conditions so people can live more healthily and avoid the making lifestyle choices that will lead to acute illness and hospital admissions.

  • Identify people most at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) so they can be supported with lifestyle changes, early intervention and effective treatment.

  • Improve oral health in Canterbury through improving people's  diet.

  • Support people to seek early intervention for conditions and make access to the right treatment easy in order to reduce the likelihood they will need to attend the Emergency Department.

  • Improve the integration between primary and secondary services, access to diagnostics and the management of long-term conditions to ensure appropriate services are being provided.

People with complex illness have improved health outcomes

For people who need a higher level of intervention, timely access to high quality complex care and treatment is crucial in supporting them to recover or slow the progression of illness. Secondary-level hospital and specialist services also improve health outcomes by restoring functionality and improving the quality of life. Increased demand for is driving up waiting times for diagnostic tests, cancer treatment and elective surgery. That means we need to develop more innovative ways of treating more people and reducing waiting times with finite resources.

What we plan to do:

  • Improve the patient journey through the hospital and ensure people receive more effective treatment, experience fewer adverse events and are better supported on discharge from hospital.

  • Ensure timely and effective diagnosis and treatment of cancer to improve survival rates.

  • Enhance the performance of the Emergency Departments so we can reduce wait times and free up resources to be used elsewhere.​

Optimal functional independence and quality of life​

Quality of life after illness is important, and health services play an  vital role in supporting people regain their functionality and remain healthy and independent, in their own home where appropriate. There are also services that provide pain management and palliative care for the best possible quality of life. As our population ages, Canterbury will need a strong base of primary care and community support, including home-based support, respite and residential care. These services support people to recover and rehabilitate in the community, giving them a greater chance of returning to a state of good health or slowing the progression of disease.​

What we plan to do:

  • Support people to live in their own homes and be positively connected to their communities for as long as possible.

  • Provide appropriate levels of Home Based Support Service (HBSS) to enable people to stay well in their own homes

  • Focus on reducing falls through addressing health issues and associated risk factors including medication use, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, osteoporosis, impaired vision and environmental hazards.​​


Corporate Quality & Patient Safety

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Health Targets

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Projects & Initiatives

Canterbury is close to delivering a fully integrated health system with a seamless flow of care.​ Our key projects and...


Serious Adverse Event Report

Each year the DHB is required to release a report relating to serious adverse events which have occurred within our hospitals.



Canterbury DHB engagement open for feedback, or reporting back on feedback received

Page last reviewed: 26 March 2018