Tuesday, 24 June 2008

When the Tories say process targets, patients say waiting lists

Could somebody explain why BMA spokesman and shadow health secretary for life Andrew Lansley was allowed to get away with such transparent obfuscation on his health 'policies' on the Today programme this morning? His made up figure of '100,000 lives saved' from Tory policies was given prominence on the news bulletins even though Lansley himself admitted that this was not a target, or even a promise, just a figure which might happen if the doctors are left alone.

Then, his pledge to scrap 'process targets' was left unquestioned. Let us be clear what he actually means.
  • First, the Tories plan to allow waits of twelve hours and longer in accident and emergency wards just so they can scrap 'process targets' that require a 4 hour maximum.
  • Second, the Tories plan to allow waits of six or twelve months for hip replacements and many other operations as they will scrap the 'process target' of 18 weeks consultation to surgery that the Labour government is close to meeting.
  • And third, they would have no 'process target' on hospital cleanliness, despite 'clean hospitals' being one of their five main goals at the last election.
Instead, they will cross their fingers and hope that the doctors will do the decent thing. Just as happened when GPs were given a whacking great pay increase in the hope that they might provide a better service for patients out of hours. None of this was revealed on the Today programme, where Mr Lansley was allowed a freedom to say what he pleased - and talk in jargon - that is denied any minister.

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