Intended for healthcare professionals


Government cuts targets to focus instead on “quality patient care”

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 22 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3368
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    The government has scrapped the target that guaranteed patients in England access to their GP within 48 hours.

    Instead doctors are being given the authority to decide which patients need to be prioritised, although they will still be judged on patients’ overall experience of the NHS, the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has announced.

    In its revision to the 2010-11 NHS operating framework the government also announced that it was to discontinue supervising the 18 week target on time from referral to treatment and reducing the four hour target threshold in hospital accident and emergency departments from 98% of patients to 95%.

    Mr Lansley said, “I want to free the NHS from bureaucracy and targets that have no clinical justification and move to an NHS which measures its performance on patient outcomes. Doctors will be free to focus on the outcomes that matter: providing quality patient care.

    “But I want to be clear: while the NHS will no longer be accountable to ministers or the department for its performance …

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