From: Max Moullin, Director, Public Sector Scorecard Research Unit, Sheffield.
THE Government’s proposal to scrap the four-hour A&E target does appear to be a cynical approach (The Yorkshire Post, January 16 and 17) towards scrutiny of its record when it comes to the National Health Service.
The A&E target has its problems. Indeed there are problems with all targets. My view is that all targets are flawed, but some are useful.
The A&E target is no exception.
It does not measure outcomes or the whole patient experience.
However, given that people don’t like spending over four hours in a hospital casualty department when they are often in pain and anxious about what will happen to them, it is not an irrelevant target and may be useful as one measure of NHS performance.
Recent data confirms that the proportion of people waiting over four hours at major A&E departments in England has risen from less than five per cent to over 30 per cent since 2011 – a sixfold increase.
The priority for the Government, at this time, is to address this problem and then decide what to do about the target.