NHS Targets – An obsession worth pursuing?


NHS Targets – An obsession worth pursuing?

I read an interesting article recently on health matters and so called “Government Targets”.

The author asked us to consider the NHS as a balloon. If you squeeze it in one part, it will simply bulge in another. I know this for a fact, as a colleague of mine is a nurse within an A&E department. When Targets are in the process of being evaluated, additional medical staff are “lent” to A&E in order to minimise recorded wait times. The hospital can then post an acceptable “waiting time”, and the Health Secretary can stand up in Parliament and congratulate everyone on the improvements. The reality is, that as soon as the evaluation period is over, the additional staff get re-posted. Guess what, the A&E wait times go back through the roof again, but in addition, whichever department those staff were seconded from, are now way behind their own set of Targets. And so it goes on. Hence the squeeze and bulge concept.

Am I the only one that sees an obvious link between the lack of GP appointment availability and the increase attendance at A&E. I am horrified to read that 22 million visited A&E last year!! That’s almost one in three of us. No wonder they can’t cope. Surely one way we have to take some of the loading off GPs and A&E Departments is by encouraging people to first consult one of our our many Musculo Skeletal Therapists, such as Osteopaths and Physiotherapists for instance. Both are trained to deal with acute musculo-skeletal injury. At A&E the classic scenario after presenting with say a bad ankle sprain is to wait 4 hours for an xray, and be told “There is no fracture, you’ll be fine!”. Actually you won’t, because all that bruising indicates there must be extensive soft tissue damage which doesn’t heal.

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