Part 6: Our recent and ongoing work in the health sector

Health sector: Results of the 2010/11 audits.

Recent reports

District Health Boards: Learning from 2010–2013 Statements of Intent

We published a good practice guide in February 2011 on DHBs' statements of intent (SOIs). It was written to help DHBs as they prepared their 2011-14 and future SOIs.

Feedback from the DHBs has indicated that this was a very useful guide, and further good practice guidance has been requested. This is being prepared for publication shortly. In our view, the gains that have been made in performance reporting by DHBs in the last three years can be attributed in no small part to the good practice guidance that DHBs have had from our auditors and from our publications.

Progress in delivering publicly funded scheduled services to patients

We published a report in June 2011 in which we assessed progress made in achieving the government strategy "Reduced Waiting Times for Public Hospital Elective Services". We found that there had been good progress over 10 years but there was more to do to ensure that patients were assessed in a nationally consistent way, and seen and treated in priority order. We meet regularly with the Ministry to assess progress against our recommendations. At these meetings, the Ministry provides us with progress updates.

Home-based support services for older people

In July 2011, we published our report on home-based support services for older people. We carried out a performance audit to establish how effective the Ministry of Health and district health boards were in ensuring that, where appropriate, people aged 65 and over got the care and support they needed to remain living independently at home. We will meet regularly with the Ministry to assess progress against our recommendations. The Ministry has agreed to provide us with progress updates at these meetings.

New Zealand Blood Service: Managing the safety and supply of blood products

We have just published (14 February 2012) our report on managing the safety and supply of blood products by the New Zealand Blood Service. We found that the Blood Service effectively supplies safe blood and blood products to patients in our health system. This is a "good news" story. The Blood Service is a high-performing organisation and we had no recommendations to make.

Ongoing work

We are considering focusing in our health sector work for the next 18 months on DHBs' asset management, building on the review discussed in Part 4 of this report. This would be incorporated into a work programme that examines the readiness of the public sector to meet the needs of New Zealanders in the medium to long term.

We are also considering a focus on child health, which would involve a wide range of entities, the DHBs and Ministry, and core health service providers, as well as the many entities in the public sector whose services contribute to the well-being of children: the social services, housing and justice sectors in particular. Part 5 of this report looked at one aspect of child health; the contribution of DHBs to reducing disparities in the health status of Māori. It would be the basis for a more in-depth examination of how well the public sector is prepared to ensure the future well-being of our children.

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