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 >

latest news

View all News

comment

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 >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

September 2019

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News