Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and ACC Minister Michael Woodhouse say hundreds will benefit from a new major trauma policy which will see patients taken to the most appropriate hospital more quickly.
“The Government is focused on getting patients the care they need when they need it. As part of the wider work programme we’re rolling out the ‘Major trauma out of hospital destination policy’ from Monday,” says Dr Coleman.
“Each year around 2,000 people with major trauma are transferred to hospital for care. Of these, up to 200 cases a year go to a hospital which provides initial care before sending them on to another hospital.
“This policy will help reduce the number of patients needing to be transferred during their care by getting them to a hospital which can provide all of the services right at the beginning of their treatment.
“By speeding up major trauma patients’ access to the level of care needed, it means some patients will bypass the closest hospital and go direct to the hospital designated to treat major trauma injuries.”
“Evidence suggests transporting patients to the right hospital earlier will result in better outcomes, less disability and an earlier return to work,” says Mr Woodhouse.
“The policy is the result of work undertaken by the Major Trauma National Clinical Network, in collaboration with ambulance services and hospital staff.
“The clinical networks are an excellent avenue for this kind of initiative. The network can review evidence, set standards and put in place quality improvements which ultimately improve outcomes for patients.”
Since its establishment in 2012, the Ministry of Health and ACC have supported the Major Trauma National Clinical Network to drive a service improvement programme by providing relevant information and being involved in operational decision-making.
ACC and the Ministry of Health have invested $742,000 over three years from 2015/16 to continue progressing the Major Trauma Clinical Network's work programme.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says new internationally-recognised research that aims to improve rehabilitation of people after they have a stroke is an important step forward.
“Around 9,000 people have a stroke each year in New Zealand. Early identification and treatment is crucial to reduce the likelihood of brain damage and lasting harm,” says Dr Coleman.
“Of these, around a third of people who experience significant disability following stroke could benefit from intensive inpatient rehabilitation.
“To help support this, the University of Auckland has created a tool that gives therapists a way to better predict at an early stage how well a stroke patient will recover the use of their hands and arms.
“Even experienced therapists struggle to predict the degree to which someone will recover use of their hands or arms post-stroke, but the PREP tool has been shown to correctly predict the outcome in 80 per cent of cases.
“Research recently released shows the tool helps therapists better target their rehabilitation, and see a patient leaving hospital for home on average, a week earlier than for patients where the tool was not used.”
“Through this union of science and healthcare we hope to make inroads into reducing the toll of these diseases on people’s lives and in reducing the burden socially and economically,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“A study of Auckland stroke patients using the PREP tool was funded by the Health Research Council and is a great example of research that is already translating into changes in care.
“I’m told researchers have already trained Auckland Hospital therapists in the use of the tool. They are also training staff at other New Zealand hospitals, as well as hospitals in the US and the UK.”
The Government's ongoing commitment to health research is demonstrated in the Budget 2016 announcement of an extra $97 million over the next four years for the Health Research Council.
Further details about this research are available on the Health Research Council of New Zealand website www.hrc.govt.nz.
Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman says up to 20,000 children are benefiting from a pilot programme which seeks to transform the way physical education (PE) is taught in schools.
“We’re now one year into the three year pilot of Play.Sport and the number of schools taking part has grown from 34 to 44,” says Dr Coleman.
“20,000 children at schools across Waikatere and Upper Hutt where the pilot is taking place are now benefitting from this new model of delivering PE.
“The feedback from the schools involved has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m told that students, teachers and principals have all commented on how Play.Sport is helping to create more engaging PE classes.
“Participating in PE helps keep our kids active, making them healthier and happier, and teaches them valuable life skills.”
Play.Sport is being supported by the Government’s investment of $8 million.
Led by Sport New Zealand and supported by the Ministry of Education and ACC, the programme involves curriculum facilitators, PE mentors and community activators working with schools to upskill teachers in PE.
The programme also connects schools with other providers within their communities, such as sports clubs, others schools and maraes, to help provide a fresh approach to PE.
“The Government is committed to supporting New Zealanders to live healthier more active lives and the evidence shows that focusing on children has the greatest results,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Government launched the Childhood Obesity Plan in October 2015, making New Zealand one of a few countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan on childhood obesity. Play.Sport is one of the 22 initiatives included in the Plan.”
Prime Minister Bill English joined Dr Coleman to see Play.Sport in action at Fergusson Intermediate School in Upper Hutt today. Silver Ferns Captain Katrina Grant and team-mate Phoenix Karaka also attended to cheer students on and give them a few pointers.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says nominations are now open for the 2017 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.
“These awards help to recognise the thousands of unsung heroes who support New Zealand’s health and disability services,” says Dr Coleman.
“Health volunteers make life better for New Zealanders in many ways, often without seeking any recognition.
“Last year’s award recipients ranged from helping people to navigate their way around hospitals and health services, to visiting isolated older people in their homes.
“If you know an individual or team of volunteers who deserve to be recognised, I encourage you to nominate them.”
Last year the overall winner of the Health Volunteer Awards was ‘Sing Your Lungs Out’, a choir for people with severe respiratory disease.
The choir meets weekly in the Wellington region and is a good example of health professional’s combining their skills to deliver an innovative approach to improving people’s quality of life.
Choir members have noticed significant benefits from singing including enhanced physical and mental wellbeing.
To mark applications for the awards opening today the choir gathered at Parliament to showcase their talent.
Nominations close on 21 April 2017. The Awards will be presented during National Volunteer Week, 18 – 24 June.
For more information about nominations and the Awards go to http://volunteerawards.health.govt.nz/
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says community-based midwives will receive a $2.8 million pay increase this year, further boosting support for maternity services.
“This fee increase for Lead Maternity Care (LMC) midwives acknowledges their important work with many of the 60,000 new babies born annually in New Zealand,” Dr Coleman says.
“It’s important that these mums and babies receive the best possible care.
“Today’s announcement of a 2.5 per cent increase to the fees they are paid will be back-dated to July 2016. It follows a two per cent increase in 2016 which was also back-dated.
“The fee increase applies from May 1 to care provided by LMC midwives throughout the pregnancy and labour to follow-up postnatal visits four to six weeks after the birth.”
For LMC midwives this fee is their only source of income to meet all costs associated with service provision, including travel costs.
“The continuity of care and partnership model offered by LMCs in New Zealand is recognised internationally. Continuing fee increases for community-based midwives supports this model of care.”
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the latest Better Public Service (BPS) results for immunisation and rheumatic fever show improvements have been made, but there is still more work to do.
“Immunisation protects children from some serious but preventable diseases and helps to stop those diseases spreading. High coverage is important to protect not only the health of an individual but to protect the community as well,” says Dr Coleman.
“Since the BPS target of fully immunising 95 per cent of eight month old was introduced in 2012 coverage is up from 86 per cent to consistently between 93 and 94 per cent across the country.
“In the quarter ending December 2016, 93.3 per cent of eight month olds were fully immunised against vaccine preventable diseases such as whooping cough.”
Since December 2014, 13 of the 20 DHBs have achieved the target of 95 per cent coverage for at least one quarter.
Coverage for Māori infants has improved increasing from 78 per cent in 2012 to 91 per cent in 2016. Pacific immunisation rates are the highest they have ever been in the quarter ending 31 December 2016, at 96.5 per cent.
“While we’re making good progress in reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds by June 2017, there’s still more work to be done to meet the ambitious BPS target,” says Dr Coleman.
“The current focus on rheumatic fever has resulted in a 23 per cent decrease in cases, dropping from 177 cases in 2012 to 137 in 2016.
“More than half the country’s rheumatic fever cases are in Auckland, and increased efforts are being made at both regional and national levels to reduce the number of children and young people affected by rheumatic fever.
“This year’s rheumatic fever awareness campaign, launched on 13 February, has an increased Auckland focus in more than 20 suburbs across the three Auckland DHB regions.
“The campaign will extend to other DHB regions with a high incidence of rheumatic fever in May and will run until the end of July.”
The Government has committed $5 million a 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.
Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has today launched a new Rugby League Education programme at Auckland’s Birkdale North School.
“The Rugby League World Cup 2017 Education Resource is a range of curriculum-based learning and teaching resources for primary and intermediate students in Years 1 to 8. It’s a fun and interactive way to promote learning through rugby league,” says Dr Coleman.
“The programme includes engaging classroom ideas that can be used across the curriculum, including physical education, maths and science.
“As well as helping children learn and develop leadership skills it also helps them develop a life-long love of sport and physical activity.
“The programme complements the wider work underway to tackle childhood obesity through the Childhood Obesity Plan.
“It has been developed as part of the legacy from New Zealand’s co-hosting of the Rugby League World Cup 2017 and is a great example of what the broader benefits can be of hosting major sporting events.”
Dr Coleman, former Kiwi representative Jerome Ropati and Kiwi Ferns representative Krystal Rota today took part in activities from the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Education Resource with a classroom of students.
The education resource was developed in conjunction with the New Zealand Rugby League and further information can be found on their website, www.nzrl.co.nz.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says on World Kidney Day that the number of living kidney donors continues to increase, having a massive impact on the lives of patients and their families.
Organ Donation New Zealand figures show that there were 82 live kidney donors in 2016, up from 74 the year before. Live donors accounted for about half of the 172 kidney transplant recipients last year.
“Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment and for people with organ failure it’s often the only option available,” says Dr Coleman.
“For those with end stage kidney disease they need either a transplant or dialysis. Although dialysis can be a very effective treatment it does require a huge amount of a patient’s time with many needing to be connected to a dialysis machine for more than 900 hours a year.
“Increasing the number of kidney transplants is important as we know that for many recipients it will lead to a much more independent, active and usually longer life.
“The Government has a comprehensive work programme to increase organ transplant numbers, through increasing both live and deceased organ donor rates.”
Today marks World Kidney Day and this year the focus is on obesity as a preventable risk factor for kidney disease.
“We know that obesity is particularly concerning in children as it is associated with a wide range of health conditions and increased risk of premature onset of illness,” says Dr Coleman.
“In October 2015 the Government launched the Childhood Obesity Plan which included a range of initiatives to prevent and manage obesity in children and young people.
“The plan provides targeted interventions for those who are obese, increased support for those at risk of becoming obese and broad approaches to make healthier choices easier for all New Zealanders.”
Notes to Editors
In the past four years the Government provided an additional $8 million to increase support and education for hospital staff, establish the National Renal Transplant Service, the New Zealand Kidney Exchange, fund donor liaison co-ordinators, and help overcome cultural barriers to donation.
The Government has made an ongoing investment of $2 million each year to continue support for organ donation and renal transplant services.
The Ministry of Health continues to work with the sector to finalise the deceased organ donation strategy.
The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act, brought by MP Chris Bishop, will come into force by 5 December 2017. The legislation helps to remove the financial deterrent to becoming a live organ donor.
The Ministry is currently developing systems and processes to meet the Act’s provisions, with the law due to come into effect before the end of this year.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman today announced a $5.5 million investment into two major golfing events.
Through the Major Events Development Fund $2.7 million will be committed to New Zealand Golf to support the hosting of the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open from 2017 to 2019.
$2.8 million will also be invested over three years in support the annual ISPS Handa NZ Golf Open. The 2017 tournament gets underway in Queenstown tomorrow.
“These tournaments bring top-ranked international golfers to New Zealand, creating an opportunity to showcase our country to a global audience, including key tourism markets such as the US, China, Japan and Australia,” says Mr Bridges.
“Golf tourism in New Zealand is already thriving. It is estimated that over 61,000 international visitors played golf in New Zealand last year and contributed around $329 million to the economy.
“For the first time the New Zealand Women’s Open will be sanctioned by the LPGA, meaning we will be able to attract some of the best players in the world, as well as a large number of their supporters and fans.”
“This is a chance for New Zealand to see our very own Lydia Ko take on some of the best players in the world right here at home,” says Dr Coleman.
“With the Royal Wellington Golf club hosting the Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Championship in 2017, the New Zealand Open in Queenstown and now a LPGA tournament at the newly built Windross Farm Golf Club in Takanini, Auckland, we are building New Zealand’s reputation as a destination for world class golf events and golf tourism more generally.”
The ISPS Handa NZ Golf Open runs from 9 to 12 March in Queenstown and the Mckayson New Zealand Women’s Open from 28 September to 1 October.
The Government invests, through the Major Events Development Fund, in major events that generate significant immediate and long-term benefits to New Zealand.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has praised the ongoing work of the National Depression Initiative (NDI) with latest figures indicating increased interaction with young people.
“The drivers of mental health and addiction are complex. In line with international trends, we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services,” says Dr Coleman.
“The NDI has had an increasingly important role in utilising technology to ensure people have access to the help and support they need, at a place and time convenient to them.
“Recent data from the National Telehealth Service shows that particularly young people under the age of 24 are comfortable to engage with support services via SMS, email and web chat.”
Between October - December 2016 contacts to the National Telehealth Service Mental Health and Addiction Team via non-phone channels (SMS, email, webchat) increased to 5,836, up 35 per cent on the previous three months.
Data shows that where an age was provided to the service 69 per cent of contacts on SMS, email and webchat were from people under the age of 24. The 5,836 contacts saw the service exchange 43,768 text messages.
During this time thelowdown.co.nz unique users increased from 23,616 to 25,121, up 6.3 per cent on the previous three months. The website had almost 87,000 users in 2015/2016 and has had around 1.5 million unique users since its launch in 2010.
“The Government has invested an extra $300 million into mental health and addiction services. Taking the total health spend in this area to around $1.4 billion for this financial year,” says Dr Coleman.
“In Budget 2016 we invested $12 million to further increase support for people to access mental health services at an earlier stage.
“This year we will be rolling out a mental health triage service as part of the national telehealth service. This 24/7 service will ensure a mental health response to people who reach out to police, health, social, and community services at a time of mental health crisis or distress.
“The new system will involve a trained expert being on hand to help identify and coordinate appropriate responses, referrals and support."
Notes to Editors
At the core of the National Depression Initiative are two comprehensive websites.
For youth there's thelowdown.co.nz which offers information and tools for handling life issues, stress, depression and anxiety. This section offers a safe forum where teens can ask questions.
For adults there’s depression.org.nz. This includes The Journal, a self-management tool fronted by Sir John Kirwan, which helps people stay positive and make lifestyle changes.
These websites are supported by a free and confidential 24/7 helpline 0800 111 757 and text services 4202 (for adults) or 5626 (for young people). Both phone services are part of the National Telehealth Service.