in my line of work are causing stupid things to happen with patient care. Yes some areas have seen a positive impact but depending on the metric you use to measure it, you can show it either way.
All I know is that urgent slots with consultants are being taken up with patients who are about to breach the targets so when I want to get someone seen by a particular specialist urgently, it could be over a months wait. I want them seen within a week but to ensure the hospital doesn't lose money we have to put patients like that at risk. Suffice to say I generally shout until it gets sorted but urgent slots were created for a reason and are now being used for routine stuff.
The whole target driven thing is mad in the public sector where the whole reason those services are not in the hands of the private sector is that it's supposed to be about qualitative service and not about chocking up as many numbers as possible.
Also, the government targets are woefully misplaced. They've spent millions and thrown masses of targets at heart attacks which will save a few hundred lives a year. Off the top of my head I can think of one condition where they wouldn't need to build new operating rooms, spend masses of cash on on call staff and would save around 1500 lives a year with an equal number of strokes being prevented. All they have to do is educate GPs for that one.
Oh wait, heart attacks are dramatic and they get to build things which makes it look like they're doing something. Plus you can't easily measure how many things you've prevented happening and put it in a nice little report but you can measure how many heart attacks happened and how many patients were collected by ambulance within so many mins and had a stent put in within so many minutes. Then you can throw that at the Tories during your next little hand bag fight.
The police can do a damn good job if they're left to decide how to do it. Just like us - if I'm left to decide which of my patients requires urgent care and which ones can wait then yeah - overall waits will be longer but people at risk of dropping dead won't be left waiting whilst non-urgent cases are automatically prioritised on the basis of a date stamp rather than clinical urgency for the sake of stupid, ill considered targets created purely for the purposes of generating tag lines for advertising.