Patient care should take priority over targets, says expert

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Patient care should take priority over targets, says expert

25th March 2010

An NHS target which aims to treat accident and emergency patients within four hours has been criticised by some doctors, who believe it is compromising care and patient safety by putting staff under tremendous pressure.

In news reports, the chairman of the College of Medicine said the target had helped to make emergency care an NHS priority but that it also forced clinical staff to put deadlines before quality of care.

Increased funding for the NHS has seen waiting times fall dramatically with less than 2% of patients now being seen after four hours.

Daniel Lee, a medico-legal expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP believes that patient safety is paramount and it must not be compromised by government deadlines.

"Most of us have experienced long waiting times at an A&E department," said Daniel, a partner at the firm. "And while we would all like to be seen sooner, this must not come at the cost of our safety.

"In theory, targets give departments a goal and as such improve standards, but we should not lose sight of the fact that a clinician's primary role in the emergency department is to treat those in urgent need of care.

"The government must be sure that expectations are realistic and that good quality care will always take priority over administrative demands."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to clinical and medical negligence.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - BBC