Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the refreshed Better Public Services targets will help ensure young New Zealanders get the best start to life and that we’re better prepared to act before kids end up in hospital.

“Healthy pregnancy and a safe birth are foundations for a good start to life,” says Dr Coleman.

“With this in mind, the new health-led results and targets have a strong focus on improving outcomes for pregnant women and babies, and supporting kids to have a healthy childhood.”

Result 2: Healthy mums and babies

Target: By 2021, 90 per cent of pregnant women are registered with a Lead Maternity Carer in the first trimester, with an interim target of 80 per cent by 2019, with equitable rates for all population groups.

“Most pregnant women and children experience good health and wellbeing most of the time, but for a range of reasons Māori and Pacific families, and families in high deprivation areas, have poorer maternal and child health outcomes on average,” says Dr Coleman.

“Early and continued regular engagement with a Lead Maternity Carer (usually a midwife) is associated with normal healthy births and better pregnancy outcomes.

“Lead Maternity Carers also connect mother and child with other core health services, such as general practice, immunisation, Well Child Tamariki Ora checks, and oral health services, as well as other social services.”

Result 3: Keeping kids healthy

Target: By 2021, a 25 per cent reduction in hospital admission rates for a selected group of avoidable conditions in children aged 0 - 12 years, with an interim target of 15 per cent by 2019.

“Avoidable hospitalisations include dental conditions, respiratory conditions (such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, asthma and wheeze), skin conditions (such as infections, dermatitis and eczema), and head injuries,” says Dr Coleman.  

“It’s not about limiting access to hospital treatment when this is needed. In fact, we may see more children being identified with previously undiagnosed conditions, and hospitalisations may go up in the short term.

“The focus is on intervening early, so we can prevent conditions getting worse to the point where hospitalisation is needed.

“This target will be supported by the free under 13 GP visits and prescriptions introduced by this Government.”

To achieve this target the Ministry of Health will work closely with DHBs and the wider health sector. As well as other Government agencies such as MSD, the MBIE and Housing NZ.

Notes for Editor

The new health related Better Public Service results replace two previous health focused results. Infant immunisation and rheumatic fever prevention will continue to be focus areas.

Eight-month-old immunisation rates remain as one of the Government’s health targets and an increased emphasis is also being placed on five-year-old coverage.

The Government has allocated $5 million per year over the next five years to the 11 DHBs with a high incidence of rheumatic fever so they can continue to deliver rheumatic fever prevention activities to their priority populations.

There will also be ongoing efforts to reduce rheumatic fever incidence through a focus on respiratory conditions within the new Result 3, including cross-agency work to improve the availability of and access to appropriate housing.

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