Tuesday 10 January 2017

Missing our NHS A&E target clearly means it’s time to change that target, insists Jeremy Hunt


Jeremy Hunt A&E NHS targets missed

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has explained that the process of changing a target when you don’t meet it, is a key part of the government’s love of targets.

The government’s target to see every A&E patient within four hours was missed in every single month of 2016, something Jeremy Hunt is keen to address.

He told the Commons that the government missing its target means it is clearly time to revise who should be included in that 4-hour target.

He told MPs, “When a target is missed, there are three things you can do; replace the person who tried to hit the target, change the way you tried to hit the target, or just change the target to something else so it looks like you’re doing a good job.

“As such, I am suggesting that the only patients that should count towards this 4-hour A&E target are those we actually see within 4-hours – if it takes longer than 4-hours to see them, then they should not be counted. This will improve our performance against target significantly.

“After all, a government minister should only be assessed on how they look on paper, rather than the quality of service they are providing to citizens.”

When the Shadow Health Secretary suggested that maybe spending a bit more money on A&E services would ensure everyone is seen within four hours, Hunt described the suggestion as ‘utterly mental’.

Hunt explained, “If spending money actually made things better, then we’d all be doing it, obviously. But it doesn’t – which is why I live in a hole in the ground and drive a thirty-five-year-old Austin Allegro.”

He went on, “Discounting the patients who make it hard to meet our targets is just common sense.

“It’s like when education standards appear to be falling, and the first thing we do is say we shouldn’t be counting the results of all the thick kids.

“The Conservative party is a big believer in capitalist principles, and if there’s one thing we’ve noticed among successful capitalists, it’s that when someone misses their targets, those targets are revised to make it look like that person was actually successful.

“Which is why no sales people ever miss a target, and never lose their jobs as a result.  Sales, like Health Secretary, is quite rightly a job for life.”

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