QA must improve despite Whitehall u-turn over A&E targets says MP
STANDARDS must be improved at Queen Alexandra Hospital despite the government's climbdown on A&E targets, says the MP for Portsmouth South.
Speaking in the House of Commons, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said Whitehall was committed to ensuring people were seen within four hours.
But he said that if the target needed to be ‘protected’, it may only apply to patients who need to be seen urgently.
It comes as Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs QA at Cosham, only reached the four-hour government target for 69.3 per cent of patients in October.
MP Flick Drummond said: ‘Targets still have their place and I am still very concerned about A&E at QA, which is why I have a meeting with the chief executive Tim Powell coming up soon.’
Mrs Drummond also hopes more people who aren’t in immediate danger will stay away from A&E.
She said: ‘People need to start using the walk-in centres, rather than A&E. ‘
In September, 74.3 per cent of patients were seen, treated or discharged within four hours – the 17th worst performance in the country.
Yet Tory public health boss Cllr Luke Stubbs said: ‘Trying to manage something as complicated as the whole of the NHS through arbitrary targets was always going to fail. Targets distort behaviour and waste resources.
‘Staff need to be allowed to apply commonsense and judgement in decision making. Making exemptions to the four-hour rule is a step in the right direction, but a better move would have been to ditch the whole thing.’
Dr Rob Haigh, executive director for the emergency care pathway at QA, previously said he wants the service to reach 85 per cent.
‘Hardly any trusts across the country are reaching the 95 per cent target and, looking at where we are at now, 85 per cent is more realistic,’ he said.
While insisting the commitment is to maintain the four-hour target, Mr Hunt said: ‘Since it was announced in 2000, there are nearly nine million more visits to our A&E, up to 30 per cent of whom, NHS England estimate, do not need to be there, and the tide is continuing to rise.
‘So if we are going to protect our four-hour standard, we need to be clear it is a promise to sort out all urgent health problems within four hours – but not all health problems, however minor.’