David Blackburn

From targets to results

From targets to results
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As I wrote last week, momentum is important if the coalition’s reform agenda is to avoid stagnating. So far so good and the latest morsel of progress is Andrew Lansley’s pledge to hold hospitals accountable for outpatients’ health for one month after discharge.

The plan is designed to prevent the early discharge of patients in order to meet waiting list targets. NHS trusts will be fined if a patient is re-admitted with related symptoms. Lansley will also seek the abolition of non-clinically justified targets, which were introduced by the previous government. The emphasis is on results, not targets; transparency, not ruses; efficiency, not waste. Improving the quality of care is all that matters; and, like all reforms, it will take time to judge the policy's success.