UK Health Committee Says NHS Prioritises Targets Over Patient Care

8 July 2009 (Last Updated July 8th, 2009 18:30)

Hospitals are putting targets above patient care, according to a new report by the UK Commons Health Select Committee. The Health Committee, appointed by the House of Commons, found 10% of patients admitted to NHS hospitals suffer from harm that is largely avoidable. The Com

Hospitals are putting targets above patient care, according to a new report by the UK Commons Health Select Committee.

The Health Committee, appointed by the House of Commons, found 10% of patients admitted to NHS hospitals suffer from harm that is largely avoidable.

The Committee said that government policy had prioritised meeting targets such as waiting lists, financial targets and attaining Foundation Trust status.

Inadequate staffing levels have been major factors in undermining patient safety in a number of notorious cases, the report said.

The MP's committee recommended open reporting and publishing of data gathered by individual NHS organisations. It also championed technology integration such as automated decision and prescribing support systems along with electronic patient records.

The government had established the National Reporting and Learning System and the National Patient Safety Agency to report and analyse unsafe care and prioritise patient safety. But failure to gather data adequately means the public cannot be sure appalling errors at Stafford Hospital, which led to the deaths of between 400 and 1,200 people, are not being repeated elsewhere, the study said in a report in The Telegraph.

Inadequate Accident and Emergency (A&E) care led to unnecessary deaths and harm, the report added.