» Monday, March 14, 2005


Asked for any comment to the BMA criticisms this morning that Government policies were causing problems in A&E, the PMOS said the important thing was to recognise what Sir George Alberti of the National Centre for Emergency Care had said. Sir George Alberti said that for forty to fifty years, there had not been any targets, and there had been no improvement in the A&E services in that time. However, since there had been targets, there had been improvements, and he spoke as someone who was, as he said himself, against targets. The PMOS said that Dr. Jonathan Fielden who was chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee said that there had been "substantial improvement" in A&E services. The PMOS said that was backed up by the National Audit Office, patient surveys conducted by the Health Care Commission and by others, including Martin Shalley who was President of the British Association of Accident and Emergency Medicine. In terms of targets, the PMOS said that of course, in some cases it was not appropriate, and that was why we had lowered the target from 100% of cases to 98% of cases after John Reid became Secretary of State to allow that degree of flexibility. Targets have resulted in real improvements in A&E, but they were a means to an end, and not an end in themselves. We needed to keep that operation under constant review, but in terms of overall targets, the Government would not apologise for their introduction at all, as they had resulted in real improvements.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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