latest health care news

15.02.19

‘Damaging’ NHS targets ‘have had their day’ claims Lord Prior

NHS targets “have had their day” according to Lord Prior as the head of the health service launches an attack on 25 years of flawed health policies.

On the same day A&E performance slumped to the worst level on record, NHS England’s chairman has signalled plans to abolish key performance targets, suggesting that they damage patient care and encourage “gaming” by NHS trusts.

Criticising what he called a dysfunctional system, the former health minister told a conference: “We have had 15 years of this top-down, target-driven culture that has driven the NHS.

“The degree of pressure to hit targets is something I have never encountered in the private sector, the unnuanced level of these targets.

“They have encouraged this top-down, hierarchical control in the NHS which has been very damaging for the culture, and very bad for getting clinicians involved and engaged.”

Lord Prior said he believed “targets have had their day” and has led to the development of gaming around these targets.

“Go to any A&E department and everyone measures the time… you get to three hours 55 minutes and all hell hits. Everyone runs around like headless chickens to get them out or get them through or discharge them before the four hours.”

His comments come as the latest NHS performance figures revealed that A&E departments saw 84.4% of patients within the flagship four-hour target, the lowest since it was introduced in 2004.

The NHS hasn’t met the four-hour target since 2015, and the new figures equate to around 84,000 patients in January waiting over four hours for a bed.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said it was “a sad indictment of the state of our health service” that thousands of patients were left facing the prospect of being stranded.

Nuffield Trust’s chief economist John Appleby said the NHS was “fighting a losing battle” in its efforts to provide timely healthcare; and NHS Confederation said the figures show that the NHS is “buckling under the strain.”

NHS England is currently reviewing its clinical targets, including the 95% target for all patients attending A&E to be seen with four hours.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >