Targets to blame for NHS scandals, say doctors

Blame for scandals such as the Mid Staffordshire hospital one lies with the government rather than medical staff, GPs have said.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul told the BMA’s annual representative meeting yesterday that the four-hour A&E target had led eight out of 10 A&E wards to discharge patients too soon.

And the infectious diarrheoa outbreak in Stoke Mandeville, which killed 33, was ‘partly a result of patients being hastily transferred from A&E cubicles to open wards’.

Meanwhile, the 18-week target has resulted in patients inappropriately being removed from waiting lists and then re-referred, he said.

‘There's nothing wrong with wanting to shorten NHS waits,’ he said. ‘What's wrong is the government's rigidity in implementing targets.’

‘When things go wrong as a result, is it fair that government can distance itself as having no part to play, while local healthcare staff face disciplinary action?’

The motion was carried.

Coverage from the BMA ARM 2009 in Liverpool

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