More on 4 hour target in A&E

The Times Online has an article about the 4 hour target data that I wrote about last time.

In the article, Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants’ committee, said that the admission rates were worrying.

“This suggests that when patients have been waiting close to four hours, there is a rush to discharge or admit them so that the hospital meets the four-hour target,” he said.

“Patients must always be treated on the basis of their clinical need, not simply because they have been waiting close to four hours.”

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association said,

“This results in doctors making rushed decisions at three hours and 50 minutes, with patients having to be admitted inappropriately at huge cost to the NHS,” she said. “We have heard instances of ambulance drivers being forced to wait outside A&E with seriously ill patients, until staff have cleared a backlog of people who need to be seen within the four hour target.

“It is unfair to make NHS staff feel like they have to put meeting this target ahead of what’s in the best interests of patients.”

Mike O’Brien, the Health Minister defends the targets in the article. Why is it that ministers can not see the harm they are doing?



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