Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman has announced that Homecare Medical have been selected as the coordination services provider for the National Bowel Screening Programme.
“The announcement of the provider for the National Coordination Centre services marks an important step in the roll-out of the National Bowel Screening Programme,” says Dr Coleman.
“The National Coordination Centre’s responsibilities include managing the database and distribution of the invitations for the programme, providing test kits to participants, and ensuring that GPs receive their patient’s test results.
“The coordination centre will also manage the free bowel screening helpline number (0800 924 432).
“Homecare Medical has demonstrated its ability to deliver high quality individual healthcare support through its provision of the National Telehealth Service.
“I have every confidence that they’ll deliver the same high quality service in their role as the National Coordination Centre for the programme.”
The free screening programme for men and women aged 60 to 74 is being rolled out progressively throughout New Zealand. The roll-out started with Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Boards in July.
“I’d like to acknowledge the crucial role played by Waitemata DHB in running the interim coordination centre services during the initial phase of the national roll out,” says Dr Coleman.
"Co-ordination Centre responsibilities will transition from Waitemata DHB to Homecare Medical at the end of this year."
The Government has invested $77.8 million into the screening programme’s progressive roll-out to date, with a further $19 million invested into delivering more colonoscopies quicker.
Further information on the National Bowel Screening Programme is available at www.bowelscreening.health.govt.nz
Homecare Medical also holds the contract for the National Telehealth Service launched at the end of 2015. This service integrated a number of helplines funded by the Ministry of Health, including Healthline, Poisonline and Quitline.
Homecare Medical is a tele-triage organisation and is a partnership between Pegasus Health and ProCare.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says it’s not too late to be protected against influenza, with influenza vaccine now free for eligible people until the end of the year.
“To date, more than 1.2 million flu vaccines have been distributed across the country, protecting more than a quarter of our population,” says Dr Coleman.
“We’re at the time of year when there’s a lot of winter illnesses like influenza around, and these usually continue into early spring. While it’s best to be protected before winter, it’s still worthwhile getting vaccinated now if you haven’t already.
“The Ministry of Health has extended the annual influenza programme until the end of December from this year onwards. This includes people, such as newly pregnant women or those who have just turned 65, who might not have been eligible for free immunisation before winter.”
Recent changes to the annual influenza immunisation programme have made vaccination more accessible to those at greater risk of complications from the disease.
Free influenza vaccination is available at many pharmacies, as well as general practices, for those aged 65 and over and pregnant women. Many people with serious health conditions can also get vaccinated for free at their general practice.
Free influenza immunisation is also available for those aged under 18 years living in Kaikoura, Hurunui, and Seddon or displaced from their homes in Edgecumbe and surrounding regions, as these areas have been affected by recent natural events.
Note to Editors:
For free health advice, call Healthline 0800 611 116. For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515.
The funded influenza vaccine for the 2017 season includes the following strains based on recommendations from the World Health Organization:A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)-like virus A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says that nationwide health targets have had a significant impact on ensuring better, faster and more convenient healthcare for New Zealanders.
“Under this Government, the six national health targets have helped to drive improvement in performance across the health system,” says Dr Coleman.
“Nine years on, these targets have made a real difference to the quality of care in the health system and have saved lives.
“The latest health targets released today show that almost 93 per cent of patients were admitted, discharged or transferred from an EDs around the country within six hours through the shorter stays in EDs target.
“Recent New Zealand research found that this target is saving lives, with around 700 fewer deaths than predicted in 2012 if pre-target trends continue.
“Through our Improved Access to Elective Surgery Target, we have increased elective surgeries by 40 per cent, which equates to 50,000 operations per year since 2008.
“The Increased Immunisation Target has seen 92 per cent of 8-month-olds having their primary courses of immunisation on time. Under the Labour Government, the levels of immunisation were similar to that of a third world nation at 67 per cent.
“Cancer care under Labour saw over 760 patients sent to Australia for basic cancer treatment. The latest health targets show that over 80 per cent of patients are receiving their first treatment within 62 days of a high suspicion of cancer.
“A year on from the implementation of our Raising Healthy Kids Target DHBs are close to achieving the target. The quarter 4 health targets show that 91 per cent of children who were identified as obese were offered support from healthcare professionals for nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.
“This target is an important part of our Childhood Obesity Plan. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the OECD to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.
“These results are supported by the extra $888 million being invested into health services for 2017/18, which is the biggest increase in eleven years. This takes health investment to a record $16.77 billion in 2017/18, an increase of around $5 billion across our nine Budgets.
“Only this Government can both manage the economy while also maintaining a sustainable investment into our health services.
An additional 600,000 lower income New Zealanders will have access to $18 doctor visits under National, as one of the dividends of a strong and growing economy.
National will also expand access to the Community Services Card to an additional 350,000 New Zealanders with low incomes and high housing costs, to ensure they can access a range of cheaper health services.
“We want to support more low income New Zealanders to access the healthcare they need, when they need it,” Dr Coleman says.
“We’ve already made sure all children under 13 have free GP visits and prescriptions. Around 1.4 million New Zealanders also have the cost of visiting their GP capped at $18 through the Very Low Cost Access scheme.
“National will build on this by introducing an $18 cap on GP visits for all Community Services Card holders.
“National will make it easier for 600,000 low-income New Zealanders to visit their GP before a condition deteriorates. This in turn will help further reduce the numbers turning up at busy emergency departments with issues a GP could have resolved.
“This change means a family of three earning up to $60,000 per year will be able to access $18 GP visits – with children under 13 still able to go for free.
“As part of this policy, National will also expand the coverage of the Community Services Card to include everyone receiving an Income Related Rent Subsidy or Accommodation Supplement.
“As well as getting access to cheap GP visits, 350,000 more New Zealanders with lower incomes and high housing costs will receive cheap prescriptions, free emergency dental care and free glasses for children through their new Community Service Cards.
“These changes will increase the total number of New Zealanders who can access either free or very cheap GP visits to 2.5 million, at a cost of $380 million over four years. The cost will be met from the 2018 Budget operating allowance.
“Our intention is to roll the policy out from 1 July 2018.
“Today’s announcement shows the benefits we can deliver through a growing economy and National’s commitment to help New Zealanders get ahead,” Dr Coleman says.
Dunedin will get a new $1 billion plus hospital, in what will be the largest build of its type in New Zealand’s history.
Dr Coleman made the announcement with Prime Minister Bill English at Dunedin Hospital today.
“The Government is committed to ensuring the people of Dunedin and the wider Southern community receive quality hospital care,” Dr Coleman says.
“We have been assessing the options around refurbishing the existing site and building a new hospital. The decision has been made to rebuild.
“This would maximise the opportunity of having a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility, while also minimising disruption to patients and staff.
“Given the scale of the project it is estimated to cost between $1.2 billion - $1.4 billion, making it the largest hospital rebuild in New Zealand history.
“The original plan was to simply rebuild the services block, but the indicative business case has determined that the ward block also needs replacing and that has increased the cost significantly from the original $300 million estimate.
“The Ministry of Health is working to secure an appropriate site for the new hospital, with a strong preference for a central city location. Depending on the location the new hospital will be opened in 7 – 10 years.
“Given the size of the project the Government will consider all funding options including a Private Public Partnership model.
“We are also taking steps to support the existing Dunedin Hospital while the rebuild takes place with an extra $4.7 million being invested into the Interim Works programme, taking the fund to $27.2 million.
“The programme includes the expansion of ICU to 22 bed spaces over the next 12 months. Taking the unit to eight ICU beds, 10 High Dependency beds and 4 beds which are flexible to be either as demand requires.
“Increasing the number of co-located beds in ICU will greatly improve efficiency and enable more effective care of patients.
“The programme also includes the expansion of the Gastroenterology Unit, which will support the roll-out of the National Bowel Screening Programme to the DHB.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to build modern and sustainable health facilities that will meet the future needs of Dunedin and the wider Southern community.”
The new Dunedin Hospital will follow on from the completion of the new $77.8 million Grey Base Hospital on the West Coast, as well as the almost $1 billion hospital redevelopment programme in Canterbury.
The Indicative Business Case for Dunedin Hospital can be accessed here.
Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has congratulated the recipients of this year’s Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarships.
“The Prime Minister’s Scholarships provide financial assistance to outstanding athletes, coaches, officials and support team members as they juggle the demands of sports and study,” says Dr Coleman.
“The programme recognises the potential sacrifices and achievements of athletes, coaches, officials and support personnel. We want to ensure that they can achieve success in both their sporting and their academic pursuits.
“Each year the Government invests around $4.25 million in the programme which is managed through High Performance Sport New Zealand.
“There are 451 recipients this year. 312 scholarships have been awarded to athletes, including 25 at Gold Level. A further 23 have been awarded to coaches, 36 to officials, and 80 to support staff.
“It is important that we have world-class coaches, officials and support staff to develop and train world-class athletes.
“This programme provides development and retention opportunities for sporting talent at the high performance level and enhances the sustainability of New Zealand’s world leading sports system.”
The 2017 scholarship recipients include:Rower James Hunter for a Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey University. Triathlete Andrea Hewitt for language courses at Massey University. Para-Swimmer Rebecca Dubber for a Bachelor of Communication Studies at AUT. Snowboard athlete Duncan Campbell for commercial pilot’s license training through Wanaka Helicopters.
Further information about the Prime Minister’s Scholarships programme can be found here.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a new pay scale for 55,000 care and support workers has been successfully implemented, with workers receiving their share of the $2 billion pay equity settlement.
“From 1 July a new pay scale was brought in for the 55,000 care and support workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services,” says Dr Coleman.
“The new pay scale more fairly reflects’ the workers skills and their experience – resulting in pay rises of between 15 and 50 per cent.
“For the 20,000 workers who were on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, their pay has increased to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise. For a full-time worker, this means they can be taking home an extra $100 a week, or more than $5,000 a year.
“The settlement also gives workers access to increased training which is expected to result in a more highly skilled workforce and lower staff turnover, helping improve the care of about 110,000 vulnerable New Zealanders.
“I am advised that the vast majority of this workforce is now confirmed at their new pay rate, with a small number of providers waiting on verification of workers’ overseas nursing qualifications. Where this is the case, eligible workers will receive back pay to 1 July 2017.
“This has been a significant undertaking, and I would like to thank the unions, funders, peak bodies, providers, the Ministry of Health, as well as the workers themselves, who have worked closely together to ensure the smooth implementation of the $2 billion settlement.”
To support the smooth implementation of this new pay scale, over the past three months the Ministry of Health has held nationwide information sessions, provided an implementation helpdesk and made advance payments to providers.
The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill, which passed unanimously in May, prescribes the new wage rates that will be phased in over the next five years.
The $2.048 billion settlement is primarily being funded through an increase of $1.856 billion to Vote Health and $192 million to ACC.
The settlement follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.
The Government has today announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, says Social Investment Minister Amy Adams and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.
The $100 million fund will be invested in a package of 17 new initiatives aimed at helping New Zealanders suffering from mental health issues, as well as focusing on improving services and earlier intervention.
This fund is part of a $224 million boost for mental health services over four years in Budget 2017. It builds on the Government’s continued investment in this area, increasing from $1.1 billion in 2008/09 to $1.4 billion in 2016/17.
“Mental health is a social investment priority for this Government. It’s one of our most challenging social issues and it affects a large number of New Zealanders with complex needs,” Ms Adams says.
“We want to help individuals and their families through the challenges they are facing so they can lead healthier and more independent lives and we will need to bring together a range of services and targeted new approaches to do so.
“With this in mind, we have brought together Ministers, their agencies and experts to deliver a truly cross-Government approach to mental health and to allocate the fund.”
“In line with international trends we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services here in recent years,” Dr Coleman says.
“The evidence shows that we need to transform our mental health services to build resilience in children and young people to help them better deal with mental health issues and to learn how to overcome known risk factors like trauma.
“The $100 million package invests in a range of initiatives designed to improve access to effective and responsive mental health services, while at the same time starting to shift our focus towards prevention, early intervention and resilience-building.
“The 17 new initiatives intend to:
- Begin reorienting our approach to mental health towards a focus on prevention, early intervention and resilience-building (focused particularly on school-aged children and young people).
- Provide a more effective range of responses to meet the needs of people in crisis (or at risk of a crisis situation), as well as upskilling the mental health workforce.
- Expand distance and e-therapy options, which will enable provision of support earlier, in a more accessible manner.
- Extend the coverage of supports for people experiencing mild to moderate mental disorders.
- Build the New Zealand evidence base in this area through adapting, trialling and evaluating programmes or approaches from overseas.
“This package forms part of a wider programme of work to prevent and respond to mental disorders,” Dr Coleman says.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a programme designed to improve recovery after hip and knee surgery is helping patients get home faster.
“Each year over 11,000 hip and knee operations are carried out in our hospitals, 30 per cent more compared to nine years ago,” says Dr Coleman.
“As well as increasing the number of surgeries we carry out, we’re also continually looking at ways to further improve patient care during and after their operation.
“With this in mind, we’ve had 18 DHBs implementing the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) programme.
“ERAS starts when a patient has their initial consultation and continues right through to surgery, rehabilitation, and long term follow-up.
“A key focus with the ERAS is getting the patient involved in all decisions about their care – so they know what to expect and what is expected of them.
“A just released evaluation of ERAS found the average length of a hospital stay for a patient having a hip replacement dropped from 4.6 to 4.1 days. For those having a knee replacement, it fell from 5 to 4.3 days.
“This decrease in days in hospital demonstrates that the extra care is resulting in fewer complications, allowing patients to get home quicker. The reduction in days in hospital also represents a saving of more than $1.8 million in a year.
“There is potential for the ERAS programme to be adopted into other surgical specialities, with this already happening at some DHBs.”
ERAS is part of the Quality Improvement Collaborative, with the full evaluation available on the Ministry of Health website, www.health.govt.nz
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says the appointment of two healthcare experts as target champions for Shorter Stays in Emergency Departments (ED) will help further improve the flow of patients.
“DHB’s around the country are making good progress towards the health target of Shorter Stays in EDs,” says Dr Coleman.
“Most recent data shows that almost 94 per cent of patients were admitted, discharged or transferred from an ED within six hours which is close to the national target of 95 per cent.
“The target is a measure of the efficiency of flow of acute (urgent) patients through public hospitals.
“It takes a whole of healthcare system approach to reduce stays in EDs, including home and primary care to ensure people can live well with long-term conditions. For older people especially it is important to enable high quality care for effective rehabilitation and recovery after acute events.
“The appointment of the new target champion, Dr Peter Jones, and the Acute Service Improvement Advisor, Carol Limber, will help support the sector to better manage acute demand and improve further on the target.
“I welcome Peter and Carol to their new roles. They bring diversity from across the health system and extensive real life experiences in healthcare.”
Dr Peter Jones an Auckland City Hospital Emergency medicine specialist, has been appointed as Shorter Stays in EDs Target Champion. He is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine with the Department of Surgery at the University of Auckland and has a longstanding research interest in healthcare targets.
Carol Limber, currently the Service Improvement Lead at Canterbury DHB and the System Improvement Advisor at Bay of Plenty and Northland DHB’s has been appointed to the newly created position of Acute Service Improvement Advisor. She has 30 years of clinical, operational and leadership experience in healthcare.