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Bid to cut waiting lists has pushed safety down NHS agenda

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 09 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:324
  1. Lisa Hitchen
  1. Birmingham

    The government's focus on targets means that few NHS hospital trusts prioritise safety issues, one chief executive of a trust claimed last week.

    As a result very few senior staff of trusts attend conferences like the one organised by the National Patient Safety Agency in Birmingham last week, said Stephen Ramsden, chief executive for Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust. Mr Ramsden was one of only five chief executives there.

    During questions to Jane Kennedy, the health minister whose responsibilities include patient safety, Mr Ramsden said: “I'm not a big fan of the target culture. If half the attention had been given to patient safety as has been given to waiting times then more chief executives would be here and more would have been done.”

    His remarks were greeted with widespread applause from …

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