Southern DHB annual report opportunity to reflect on Commissioner’s term: Kathy Grant
Southern DHB’s Annual Report: Quality and Performance Account 2018/19 was a chance to reflect on a longer journey, say former Commissioner Kathy Grant and Chief Executive Chris Fleming.
The report was released as Mrs Grant’s term as Commissioner came to an end, and an elected board returns to govern the DHB.
In her role, Mrs Grant says reflecting on the past is about looking forward, as the team’s priority has been to establish a sound foundation for the years ahead.
The report highlights the further steps that have been taken in the past year, including the “exceptional” progress in the Primary and Community Care Strategy.
This includes general practices signing up to become Health Care Homes; improved pathways for those with long term conditions, and the frail elderly; steps towards developing the infrastructure of Community Health Hubs; establishing the Central Lakes Locality Network; and moving towards the vision of the Southern health system operating under a unified identity, with the launch of the Southern Health website and logo.
The momentum in reshaping primary and community services has also been supported by the progress in the planning for the new Dunedin Hospital.
“This has provided an unprecedented opportunity to open up a wider conversation about how we envisage health care being delivered in the future. A secondary/ tertiary base hospital is just one part of this; just as important are the services that are available across our district,” Mr Fleming says.
Fleming and Grant also acknowledge the challenges across the year, including efforts to create a more equitable and appropriately distributed network of primary maternity services across the district.
Despite investing more money overall in this sector, and increasing the locations with formal maternity infrastructure, the changes in Lumsden were vigorously opposed by that community. A review of the implementation of the strategy has been undertaken and will guide further work in this area.
“This reflects the genuine challenges involved in adapting services in terms of wider planning, when the impacts may be experienced by specific communities,” Mr Fleming says.
The year-end financial result of a $89 million deficit was doubled by the potential Holidays Act liability: that the remainder was similar to the previous board’s budgeted deficit was not lost on the Commissioner team, Mrs Grant says.
“However, our goal was never just to remove the deficit; we could have done that easily by simply cutting services. It was to manage it downward, while making the investments needed to address critical areas, and lead a transformation of the overall system.
While the Commissioner team’s first few years saw staged reductions to the deficit, the past year “challenged this trajectory, with higher than budgeted staffing costs as a result of industrial action, pharmaceutical costs, and other cost pressures,” Mrs Grant says.
“However, we move on from this role leaving we believe a more stable, better oriented organisation, with a vision and pathway for enhanced primary and community care services; stronger clinical leadership; improving quality and business systems and workplace culture; enhanced facilities in critical areas; and a new hospital to look forward to.
“We trust that the new board will take the next steps on this journey with confidence that important foundations have been put in place.
“Finally, on behalf of the commissioner team we extend our enormous thanks to all of our partners in WellSouth Primary Health Network, the rural hospital trusts, primary and community care providers across the district, and iwi and education, and our exceptionally capable 4,800 staff whose efforts every day provide outstanding care to the people in our community.”
Highlights in the Annual Report: Quality and Performance Account 2018/19 include:
- Achieved highest rate for Māori participation in the National Bowel Screening Programme, 72%
- 9 practices began implementing the Health Care Home programme, reaching total of around 64,000 patients in the district.
- More elective surgery delivered, achieving 99.6% of our target, with 13,452 surgeries and procedures
- More older people are supported at home – more are receiving home-based support, and the length of stay on the older person’s rehabilitation ward has decreased by 8 days (37%) compared to the same period last year
- Stage One of Te Puna Wai Ora Critical Care Unit opened
- New Emergency Department and CT scanner opened at Lakes District Hospital
- Whole of health system website and identity developed – www.southernhealth.nz – making it easier for people to find the care they need
- Southern DHB staff excellence awards launched.
Southern DHB at a glance – key stats
- Southern DHB has the largest geographical area of all health districts - 62,356 km2
- The Southern district has a population of 332,020 residents
- Our population is 80% European, 10% Māori, 8% Asian and 2% Pacific.
- We are slightly older when compared to the national average, with 56,450 are aged 65 and over
In 2018/19, across the Southern DHB, there were:
- 13,452 elective operations or procedures
- 6,504 acute surgical operations
- 82,467 presentations to the Emergency Departments
- 130,373 outpatient appointments (first specialist appointments and
- follow up appointments)
- 4,879 staff employed by the DHB
- 3,119 babies born in DHB facilities in 2018