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Call for waiting time targets to be downgraded

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Experts have called for the national four-hour waiting time target to be downgraded as it is misleading the health service’s priorities. This proposal came from the Nuffield Trust after the health service endured one of the toughest winters, causing all four parts of the UK to miss the waiting time target. Experts said that because of this “fixation” on waiting times, key areas such as ambulance delays and bed rotation are not getting the attention they require.

Representatives from the Nuffield Trust said that long waiting times for beds, known as trolley waits, ambulance delays, patient satisfaction surveys and the number of people leaving A&E without being treated could also be used to assess the health service’s performance.  They said that using this range of measures would provide a more “balanced” picture of the service.

“stop micro-managing this target”

Nuffield Trust suggested that waiting times for treatments could be incorporated into this new comprehensive monitoring scheme. This follows a recent worsening in waits in A&E England, which saw the week leading up to Sunday having 91.5% of patients seen in four hours, down from 92% last week.

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said: “The four-hour target has come to loom over every other measure of how well patients with urgent needs are being cared for … Politicians and regulators need to stop micro-managing this target and should instead examine how to put the four-hour target on an equal footing with other critical indicators.

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