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Potentially avoidable hospitalisations


Every year thousands of children across New Zealand are admitted to hospital with avoidable illnesses and injuries. This indicator looks at the rate of potentially avoidable hospitalisations for children (aged 0-14 years).

*Note: This is also a Child Poverty Related Indicator

Many childhood illnesses are preventable through more effective primary health care services or broader public health interventions that target the underlying determinants of health. Exposure to tobacco smoke, poor housing conditions, inadequate or poor nutrition and failure to vaccinate are just some of the drivers of potentially avoidable hospitalisations for children. Potentially avoidable hospitalisation is also strongly linked to socio-economic status, with children in poverty experience a particularly heavy burden of respiratory diseases, skin conditions, and infectious diseases.

Potentially avoidable hospitalisations include respiratory conditions (including asthma, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, bronchiectasis), gastroenteritis, skin infections, and vaccine preventable illnesses. It also includes unintentional injuries and hospitalisations due to assault or self-harm.

This indicator relates to the 'happy and healthy' outcome.

Note: While the strategy references preventable admissions to hospital, the terminology 'potentially avoidable hospitalisations' will be used going forward.

How will we measure this?

  • This indicator draws on administrative data from the Ministry of Health.
  • The data includes hospitalisation as a result of intentional and unintentional injuries, which are part of the Ministry of Health's official definition of potentially avoidable hospitalisations. There is some overlap with the serious injuries indicator.
  • This indicator will be updated annually.

For more information

Last updated: 
Thursday, 23 July 2020