Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says more adults and their families are benefiting from medication-free healthy lifestyle prescriptions.
“The Government is committed to supporting New Zealanders to live healthier more active lives away from hospitals,” says Dr Coleman.
“One of the ways we are doing this is through Green Prescriptions, which contain advice on nutrition and physical activity. Local initiatives range from cooking classes to motivational texts, and a range of options to be active.
“There are a variety of reasons someone might receive a Green Prescription from their GP or practice nurse. Patients may have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, at risk of stroke, have arthritis or have weight issues.
“There has been an increase in the number of referrals for support in the second quarter of 2016/2017 to 11,818 compared to the same time last year when there were 11,225 referrals for adults.
“A total of 284 children from 267 families were referred to the Green Prescriptions Active Families programme. More children under five and their families are also starting to be referred to the programme as a result of the new Raising Health Kids health target.
“It’s great to see that more New Zealanders are getting the extra support they need to develop long-term lifestyle changes so they can get well and stay well.”
Green Prescription services are provided by a range of organisations across New Zealand including local regional sports trusts, primary health organisations and NGOs.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today launched the $6 million boost to the Community Resilience Partnership Fund to support community-led wellbeing projects in Canterbury following the earthquakes.
“Supporting the rebuild in Canterbury is a key Government priority. We’re committed to ensuring Cantabrians receive the health services they need,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Government has partnered with Christchurch City Council to each invest $1 million a year for the next three years into the Community Resilience Partnership Fund. This initiative was signalled in Budget 2016 and targeted grants are now available.
“This fund is about supporting the grassroots community projects underway around Christchurch which are helping community wellbeing, resilience, and psychosocial recovery following the earthquakes.”
The Christchurch City Council will work with the Canterbury Psychosocial Governance Group and neighbouring Councils to assess the need for relevant community projects from across the wider Canterbury region.
Grants may be one-off, multi-year or graduated investments over three years, with the level of funding decided on a case-by-case basis.
“Contributing to this fund is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to Canterbury’s earthquake recovery,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Government’s invested $106 million additional funding into the Canterbury health sector, as well as continuing to fund the All Right? wellbeing campaign.
“Recent surveys on Cantabrian’s mental health show there’s improvement in how people are feeling since the earthquakes, with growing levels of hope and optimism.
“We also know that some people are still experiencing earthquake-related stress and that psychosocial recovery after major disasters is a long-term process.”
More information on the Community Resilience Partnership Fund is available on the Christchurch City Council website here.
Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has announced a $1 million investment into a new sports hub for Christchurch.
“The Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub will be set across 32 hectares near Wigram. It will feature an athletics track, hockey turfs and tennis courts, together with rugby league and community sports fields,” says Dr Coleman.
“This facility will provide much-needed opportunities for the people of Christchurch to take part in sport and physical activity, replacing other facilities lost in the earthquakes.
“Importantly this sports hub will be of a quality and scale that makes it attractive for activities from grassroots sport through to elite competition.
“The first part of the sports hub due to be completed is the 400m track and field athletics facility which will be built to an international standard. It’s scheduled to open in around one year’s time.”
The other sports surfaces included in the first stage of the development will be progressively completed through to December 2018. Once completed, it is expected to be used by around 30,000 people a year.
Planning around the future stages of the development, which will look to further future proof the facility, will be finalised towards the end of 2018.
“I’d like to acknowledge the work that has gone into Ngā Puna Wai. It has been a complex, but highly collaborative process,” says Dr Coleman.
“It was encouraging to see that in the early consultation there was more than 90 per cent support from over 4,700 submissions.
“It’s great to see such a positive contribution to the regeneration of Christchurch taking shape.”
Dr Coleman announced the funding at an event on the sports hub site today.
Notes to Editors
Stage one of the development includes:Athletics - 400m track & field event facilities (to an international standard) and provision for a warm up track Hockey - two floodlit water based hockey turfs (international standard) and provision for a third turf for future demand Tennis - 12 floodlit outdoor tennis courts (surface of national standard) Rugby League – two turf's for rugby league, with embankment Two community sports fields Ancillary facilities to serve the needs of participants, officials and spectators including toilets, change rooms, storage, food canteens and spectator seating The development of permanent central administration facility
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today acknowledged people with diabetes who are successfully managing the condition to live full and active lives.
“Over 250,000 people in New Zealand had been diagnosed with diabetes, with the number continuing to increase each year. Around 10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Government understands the toll the disease takes on people’s lives. The management of this long-term condition is a major health challenge for the country.”
At Waitemata DHB’s Living with Diabetes Awards today Dr Coleman presented awards to 21 people living with the condition.
The recipients included Winsome Johnstone, who for the last 80 years has lived a full and active life while managing type 1 diabetes.
“Mrs Johnstone is a remarkable lady who has lived through many changes in diabetes management over the years,” says Dr Coleman.
“From the days of boiling glass syringes, animal insulins and urine glucose testing, and through to the modern five-second blood test meters and the human insulins of today.
“Mrs Johnstone is New Zealand’s first recipient of the HG Wells Award which recognises those who have lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 80 years.
“I’d like to congratulate Mrs Johnstone. Even with modern technology such as pumps, glucose sensors and continuous glucose monitoring, type 1 diabetes requires constant discipline and attention to diet, exercise and insulin treatment.
“I’d also like to acknowledge all the recipients of the awards today and the clinical team at Waitemata DHB who care for them.
“The Government has a comprehensive work programme to help people with diabetes live a full and active life.
“In 2015 I launched a five year plan to tackle diabetes. This plan sets out a clear direction to support people to manage their own diabetes.
“To further help ensure we have access to the best evidence to continue to improve services for people with diabetes earlier this month the Government announced $5.7 million for three research projects that relate to the prevention and management of diabetes.”
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says Canterbury clinicians have achieved one million electronic referrals – ensuring patients receive more timely care.
The South Island’s Electronic Request Management System enables general practice teams to submit requests for specialist advice direct to a secure database of over 700 specialists.
“It’s a great achievement that Canterbury clinicians have reached the one million mark for eReferrals.
“The eReferrals system, which was first launched in Canterbury in 2009, plays a key role in bringing care closer to home by making general practice the first point of contact for patients.
“The eReferrals system was designed by clinicians, for clinicians, to ensure a faster, smoother and more accurate transfer of patient information.
“Replacing hand-written referrals with eReferrals has also reduced inaccuracies and has saved time for clinicians.
“It’s great to see DHBs, Primary Health Organisations and providers working together.”
eReferrals were launched through the South Island Alliance, a collaboration of the five South Island DHBs, with support from the Ministry of Health.
In March 2016, the five South Island DHBs achieved one million eRefferals.
There are over 200 different types of referral to over 800 public and private health services South Island wide. The most common referral types are to radiology, acute demand services and orthopaedics.
eReferrals are also available in most DHBs in the North Island.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says patient portal usage continues to grow with over 297,000 New Zealanders now registered to use a portal.
“Patient portals are convenient, secure and real time savers for both patients and general practice staff,” says Dr Coleman.
“Portals enable patients to access their personal health information whenever they need it. Patients can book appointments, request repeat prescriptions, and message staff securely from their laptop or smartphone.
“It’s great to see the number of patient portal users more than double over a nine month period last year - from 136,677 in March up to 297,255 in December 2016.
“56,000 people signed up to use a patient portal system in the last quarter - that's more than 4,000 new users a week. To date, 445 practices have introduced a patient portal service.
“GP practice staff are also embracing patient portals because it saves time on administrative tasks, creates efficiencies, and gives them more time with patients. Staff have said it's easy to use and gives patients a lot more control over their healthcare.”
In 2015 a $3 million funding boost from the Government gave more New Zealanders access to patient portals, this included $500,000 for an awareness campaign.
An interactive map was launched online last year to make it easier for patients to check which general practices offer portals. For more information go to: www.patientportals.co.nz
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says over 104,000 students will benefit from the Fruit in Schools programme as kids settle back into school.
“We're continuing to get overwhelmingly positive feedback from schools about the success of our Fruit in Schools programme," says Dr Coleman.
“This includes schools who've been with the programme since it started and also those who came in last year - they tell us that the healthy eating options are helping their kids in both their work, and also at play.
“It's great to see a programme like Fruit in Schools making a real difference to the health and well-being of Kiwi kids.
“Fruit in Schools complements the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.”
This year 543 schools will take part in Fruit in Schools, which sees high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables delivered each week. Up to 24 different types of fruits and vegetables are on the menu throughout the country and more than 20 million servings of produce will be dished up over the year.
Both staff and students can sample the produce, with adults taking a lead in showing kids how to enjoy tastes they might not have experienced previously. Many of the schools also use the programme as a support for maths.
The Government invests about $8 million into the Fruit in Schools programme each year. This is being supported by the extra $568 million going into Health for 2016/17 – taking the total Health spend to a record $16.1 billion.
Recent feedback from schools taking part in the programme includes:
“It's always a pleasure to have plenty of fruit in our classrooms. It promotes healthy eating habits among our students. Healthy Eating is a school wide goal and availability of fruit in the classrooms contributes a lot to that.” Kathy Dooley, Principal, Mt Richmond School (Special School), Auckland.
“Our kura is a decile 1 school on the east coast, an hour up from Gisborne. We have 26 kids and every day our teacher aide cuts and prepares a platter of fruit to go into our two classes before morning tea and they absolutely devour the fruit we receive. It's as much a part of their day as their reading.” Murray Hawke, Principal, Hatea-A-Rangi, Gisborne.
“We have only positive feedback to provide. Our fruit arrives efficiently every Monday morning. Thank you so much for your amazing service – we really do appreciate it.” Robyn Brider, Principal, Orautoha School, Whanganui.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says there’s been good uptake of the $3.76 million support package for Kaikōura and Marlborough families.
“The Government is committed to ensuring the people of Kaikōura and Marlborough can access the health services that they need following the 14 November earthquake,” says Dr Coleman.
“In Kaikōura and Hurunui just over 3,500 residents have accessed free GPs visits. Canterbury DHB’s specialist mental health team have also made just over 300 appointments, including visits with children and families.
“In Marlborough, Ward, Seddon and Kekerengu just over 400 people have accessed free GPs visits. This service is being supported by free mental health care packages which include extended GP visits and three counselling sessions. To date 145 care packages have been prescribed.
“We know that after a serious earthquake, people can feel stressed and anxious for a long time after the event. The psychosocial recovery needs of the communities will change over time.
“To help ensure we’re responding to these changes community workshops are also being held to support families, workplaces and schools in recognising and understanding stress and anxiety.
“Work also continues to expand to the successful All Right? Campaign, which was developed in response to the Canterbury earthquakes, to the Marlborough region.
“I’d like to acknowledge the health staff who continue to do a great job responding to local health needs at a difficult time.”
The $3.76 million package is made up of four key areas; providing free or subsidised GP visits until May, boosting mental health services, hiring additional health practitioners which includes mental health experts and paying the balance of the Kaikōura Health Te Ha o Te Ora health centre.
The support package was designed in consultation with Nelson Marlborough and Canterbury DHBs. It is on top of the $20 million package of initiatives to increase mental health support for Cantabrians announced in March 2016.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says this year’s rheumatic fever awareness campaign starts tomorrow with a focus on reducing cases in Auckland.
“Rheumatic fever is serious but preventable. Children and young people from Pacific and Māori communities are the most vulnerable,” says Dr Coleman.
“While we’re making good progress to reduce rheumatic fever rates, there’s still more work to be done to meet the ambitious BPS target.
“This year’s rheumatic fever awareness campaign has an increased Auckland focus in more than 20 suburbs across the three Auckland DHB regions.
“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.
“Rheumatic fever awareness raising and prevention activities are being boosted significantly in Auckland as a result. Last year the Government reprioritised $875,000 from the $65 million invested through Vote Health to further help prevent rheumatic fever in Auckland.”
The Auckland rheumatic fever awareness campaign phase runs until the end of April. It utilises local media channels, Pacific and iwi radio stations and social media.
In addition to the awareness campaign, rheumatic fever prevention activities are being strengthened through a youth awareness campaign which includes theatrical performance projects, and training youth ambassadors to deliver awareness raising activities.
The Ministry of Health is also working with Pacific and Māori providers, as well as DHBs, to increase community engagement among Pacific and Māori communities.
Notes to editors
Figures show a 37 per cent decrease in rheumatic fever cases, dropping from 177 cases in 2012 to 112 in the 12-month period ending June 2016.
Across the greater Auckland region:
- Counties Manuaku DHB is tracking well, having halved their rheumatic fever numbers from 66 cases in 2012 compared to 37 cases in the 2015/16 financial year. But the overall incidence rate remains high.
- Auckland DHB reported 19 cases in the 2015/16 year, but needs a 74 per cent reduction to reach their target goal of five cases in 2016/17.
- Waitemata DHB reported 12 cases in 2015/16, but needs a 66 per cent reduction to reach their target goal of four cases in 2016/17.
A range of initiatives are in place to tackle rheumatic fever:
- More than 40,000 high risk young people have accessed sore throat drop-in services.
- There are over 300 drop-in clinics in Northland, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitemata, Waikato, Rotorua, Tairawhiti, Porirua, Hutt Valley.
- Children are also being assessed and treated for sore throats through school-based services in around 200 North Island schools.
- Healthy Homes Initiatives in all high incidence areas are offering packages of housing-related interventions to up to 3,000 families each year.
- A Pacific Engagement Service has engaged more than 43,000 Auckland and Wellington Pacific families through home visits and community events to raise awareness of rheumatic fever and what they can do to prevent it.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says latest data shows around 148,000 more Kiwis have received a First Specialist Assessment (FSA) since 2008.
“Increasing access to specialist care is a key priority. The answer to increased demand is to do more, whether it’s assessments or operations, and that’s what the Government is focused on delivering,” says Dr Coleman.
“The latest data shows 552,423 patients received a FSA in 2016, a rise of almost 10,000 on the previous year. That’s an increase of 147,912 patients since 2008 when 404,511 FSAs were carried out – an increase of 37 per cent.
“229,083 patients received a medical FSA last year compared to 160,937 in 2008, and 323,340 patients received a surgical FSA in 2016 compared to 243,574 in 2008.
“This uplift has been accompanied by a continuing increase in the number of people receiving elective surgery.
“This is being supported by the extra $568 million being invested into the health sector this year - the biggest single increase in seven years - taking the health budget to a record $16.1 billion in 2016/17.”
The Government launched the National Patient Flow project to measure the outcomes of GP referrals to hospitals specialists for the first time. The latest data shows that between April and June 2016, there were around 177,400 referrals for a FSA - 87 per cent of referrals were accepted.
First Specialist Assessments are defined into two categories:
- Surgical FSAs are for patients whose condition is managed by a surgeon, for example - orthopaedics, general surgery, ophthalmology.
- Medical FSAs are for patients whose condition is managed by a physician, for example - cardiology, respiratory, renal.