Are NHS waiting list targets bad news for patients?

January 31, 2012 · Posted in Health 

The NHS is a colossal institution, and the number of patients that must be treated by it is unimaginable. Because of this, it is a massively over burdened institution. Not only does it have to account for, and make sure all its staff are behaving professionally; it also has the mammoth task of making every patient feel well looked after, and helping as many as they can, as quick as they can.

And what’s more, this has to be done on an extremely limited budget. There are so many treatments that would help save lives, that cannot be used by the NHS due to lack of money. All of this, coupled with the lack of space, means that often really ill people are forced to wait on waiting lists to get the treatment they need. One in which people have tried to tackle this problem is by putting targets in place for how long a patient should have to wait, or how long waiting lists should be.

This method of tackling the issue is not helpful, however. It is the medical professionals, the doctors and nurses, who know how best to treat their patients. They will not, therefore, treat people for longer than they have to, for they know there are people waiting to be treated just outside the door, so to speak. And yet, ministers interfere and put down unrealistic targets, which threaten punishment for those who fail to meet them, and which can only be met by falling short of the quality of care required.

I’m sure you have seen headlines in the past about the fact that people have been taken off waiting lists in order to keep within targets set. Another way in which targets have been met is by treating people faster, and with less caution than is required. If the professionals were to treat people how they saw best, the waiting lists would not meet the targets set.

In short, if there is not enough money or resources, then only a certain amount of people can be treated at one time. Placing targets onto professionals to try and increase the amount of people seen over time, will not change how much resources there are, and will only serve to compromise care.

Speak to specialist clinical negligence solicitors about claiming compensation.

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