This week the build up to the UK election featured the usual rumours about the future of the NHS but little, if any, comment on the fact that £600 million was withdrawn from hospitals and healthcare providers in the last financial year, because of fines for breaching performance targets. Instead of supporting struggling institutions the government removed money that might have fixed the problem.
Performance targets have absolutely no relation to patient care. They do not reflect population increases, outbreaks of diseases or staffing problems that affect a hospital’s ability to deliver the highest standard of care. They were invented by taxpayer funded consultants, misled by their political masters into believing that healthcare is a business. Resources that should have been used to employ doctors and nurses was reinvested in managers, to oversee delivery of these meaningless targets.
Inevitably the new government will face questions about NHS funding. They are advised to abolish all performance targets, remove the managers, and concentrate on resourcing the delivery of care. Then, if a hospital is struggling to support its patients it can seek assistance without fear of being penalised.