Data shows outcome of GP referrals for 1st time

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

7 March 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says preliminary data from the National Patient Flow project will help the sector to better understand the outcomes of GP referrals to hospital specialists.

“It’s important that we have transparency within the health sector as it gives patients confidence that the system is working,” says Dr Coleman.

“Initial data shows that between 1 July and 30 September 2015 there were 145,922 GP referrals for a First Specialist Assessment.

“Of these referrals, 130,902 patients (90 per cent) were accepted for a First Specialist Assessment during this time period.

“9,685 (six per cent) had their requests held so further investigations could be carried out, or declined because there was insufficient information from the GP, the service was no longer required or they were transferred to another DHB or another speciality.

“5,335 (four per cent) were declined as they did not meet the threshold. It’s expected that as the data builds the number of patients declined and sent back to their GP for care as they didn’t meet the threshold will rise to around 10 to 15 per cent.”

Individual DHBs adjust threshold levels for publicly funded elective surgery from year to year and have always done so. DHBs determine thresholds for their communities using national clinical prioritisation tools to ensure access to services is fair and equitable.

In 2014/15 there were 542,645 surgical and medical First Specialist Assessments carried out across the country. This is compared to 432,048 in 2008/2009. That’s an increase of 26 per cent (110,597).

The Ministry will be releasing the first National Patient Flow data set broken down by DHB in late April 2016.

The project is being supported by the extra $400 million being invested into the health sector this year, taking the health budget to a record $15.9 billion.

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129

Last updated: Monday, March 7, 2016

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