New developments in intermittent claudication
GPs are wasting no time in pressing the new Prime Minister to keep his election promises on NHS targets
GPs are demanding the new Government follows through on election pledges to cut NHS targets and have set out the top five they want scrapped.
The 48-hour access target heads the hit-list (right), which was drawn up by a dozen leading GP representatives.
Targets for childhood vaccinations, four-week smoking quitters, 18-week total waiting times for treatment and four-hour A&E waits completed the list.
All were condemned as 'crude' by the GPs and attacked for 'distorting clinical priorities'.
The renewed demand to scrap the access target follows Tony Blair's TV admission that he was 'astonished' it was distorting access to GPs and forcing practices to restrict advance appointments.
Following Mr Blair's gaffe on the BBC's Question Time, Labour pled-ged to 'iron out the wrinkles' in the target and hinted it may alter it to give GPs incentives for giving patients appointments on the day they request.
Mr Blair also reiterated the promise he made to Pulse at the start of the election campaign to cut targets across the NHS. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both put this at the heart of their plans for the NHS.
Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMCs, said 'all targets distort priorities'. He said: 'People play games and neglect areas which are not measured.'
Dr Peter Joliffe, chair of Devon LMC, highlighted the four-week smoking cessation target as 'meaningless'. He added: 'We don't get a "five-week take it back up" target.'
Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said hospitals 'gamed' the four-hour A&E waiting target. He added: 'They just move the trolley up the corridor and call it a ward.'
Other GPs said standards were needed in the NHS, but these should be flexible and give practices more freedom.
Dr Sam Everington, a GP in east London and Government adviser, said there had to be a move away from a 'one-size-fits-all approach'.
Dr David Jenner, NHS Alliance new contract lead, added that standards had to be 'owned and agreed by the people expected to deliver them'.
·Manifesto for General Practice successes, see page 2
·Blair's access gaffe, see page 20
GPs' targets hit-list
1 48-hour access to a GP
2 Childhood vaccination uptake
3 Four-week smoking quitters
4 Four-hour A&E waiting time
5 18-week wait from GP consultation to hospital treatment
By Ian Cameron