Parents make it hard for DHB to meet targets
Parents in Marlborough and Nelson who refuse to immunise their children are making it difficult to keep diseases like whooping cough at bay, says a Nelson Marlborough District Health Board boss.
Community-based service director Peter Burton said parents who decided to decline vaccines also made it challenging for the board to hit its yearly health targets. The health board failed to meet its target of having 95 per cent of two-year-olds fully immunised by July 2012. It managed 87 per cent of young children immunised.
“We are pleased with the result, given that about 9 per cent of parents actively decline to immunise their children in Nelson Marlborough," Mr Burton said.
“General practice and the outreach immunisation service continue to follow up and provide opportunities to these families to immunise their children.”
The board ensured parents had all the information they needed to make an informed decision.
The health board worked closely with the primary health organisations in the district to ensure every child could access their free vaccinations, Mr Burton said. It was important that parents understood the consequences of not vaccinating, he added.
“Unvaccinated children can be asked to stay at home for up to two weeks during a disease outbreak, and of course children can become seriously unwell.”
Nearly 50 babies aged under 12 months contracted whooping cough during an outbreak this year, he said.
“Some of these babies were too young to be vaccinated and the low rate of vaccination in the community put them at higher risk of contracting the disease.”
The target for the next year is to have 85 per cent of eight-month-olds immunised.
The board also fell short in its regular heart and diabetes checks for relevant patients scoring 50 per cent compared with the target of 60 per cent. The target for the 2012-13 year is 75 per cent.
However, the board excelled in its elective surgeries and seeing people within six hours in the emergency departments.
The board carried out more elective procedures for the year than planned, Mr Burton said.
Emergency departments saw 98 per cent of people within six hours against a target of 95 per cent, he said.
In the target “Shorter waits for Cancer Treatment” the board achieved 100 per cent.
The “Better Help for Smokers to Quit” target of offering advice to 95 per cent of smokers who enter the hospital setting was met in Nelson Marlborough with 96 per cent.
- The Marlborough Express