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Targets are not a substitute for proper funding

Editor’s blog

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

Simon Stevens’ announcement that he wants hospitals to cut ‘excess stays’ by 25% seems pretty sensible on the face of it, in the same way as ‘eliminating inappropriate deaths’ or ‘eradicating never events’.

The problem is that, infuriatingly, these patients still require care even once they’ve left the hospital. And the community – which is the only place these patients can go – doesn’t have the capacity to deal with their care either.

In fairness, Stevens does provide some suggestions about how to care for patients outside hospitals. But unfortunately, they are all the usual suspects: seven-day access; support for care home staff; and increasing the use of emergency care intensive support teams.

The one thing they all have in common, of course, is piling more work on practices. They are the ones left to deal with the care home staff’s tendency to call practices whenever anything goes wrong, or the lack of communication when the intensive support teams get involved.

The target itself is not enough to bring about change – trusts will find a way of meeting the target in ways that will most likely lead to a worsening of care.

The real solution is simple. Provide local authorities with the funding they need to provide proper social care for patients discharged from hospitals. But this is expensive. Far easier to set a target instead.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse

Readers' comments (1)

  • Completely agree. Targets without The resources just cause frustration. The young doctors are voting with their feet and not joining the profession as They can see it’s clearly unsustainable and not a pleasant working environment. 3.6% increase in NHS is welcome however will barely address the large gaps and problems that are built up in the last five years. There will need to be significant political change to address the tax issues if we are to fully fund an NHS system that meets the needs of an increasing elderly population. We are nowhere near that at the moment. I can understand how the young doctor is looking at this and decides that the best thing to do is to go to Australia for a few years, Become a portfolio doctor, or become an entrepreneurial Locum.

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