January 20, 2020
I started working in the NHS in 2012, and would regularly rush around busy A&Es as the most junior of doctors like an angry wasp, buzzing between what felt like tens of patients, struggling to manage all the plates in the air.
Scrapping A&E Targets Only Helps The Tories, Not Patients
At the time, a recent A&E had closed and there were no plans to open another. We would get regular calls about patients “breaching”, the term we use for a patient waiting longer than four hours to be seen, treated, admitted and discharged. The coalition government had just reduced the four-hour target from 98% to 95% in 2010, and, at the time, it felt like we would get more urgent calls about “breaching” patients than very sick ones. Hospitals still get fined from their budgets if they miss these targets, which always seemed a ridiculous way to address a struggling service, so we would feel the pressure not just from the patients but senior doctors and management as well.
Flash forward to 2020, and I look back on those days with rose-tinted glasses. Since 2015, the A&E target hasn’t been met in England at all, and fell from one in eight patients waiting over four hours, to one in four this winter. A&E sits at the crux point between the community and the hospital, and when you walk in to a heaving hospital you can physically feel the strain: patients queueing in corridors, the emergency alarms, the strained voices of the receptionists. The worst part is the hungry eyes of the patients waiting to be seen and their families; even when I’m not working I find it difficult to walk past.
As a busy heart doctor I have taken lots of calls from A&Es about “breaching” patients, and sometimes that does mean prioritising the sickest patients can become confused by the target. But that reflects the ever increasing volume in our hospitals, up 4% year on year for the past 10 years, and the lack of resources to follow it, average funding increasing by only 1.5%. 
Matt Hancock has said that this target being scrapped would be “clinically appropriate”. If that were the case why has it been in place for the last 10 years? Or why wasn’t scrapping it part of the Tory manifesto? I feel it is more than coincidence that this is the second target to be binned by this government in a year: the 18-week target for urgent operations went last year as well. As a doctor under constant scrutiny in an intense and difficult environment, this government’s constant and repeated ability to escape accountability infuriates me. The 18-week target hadn’t been met for years, the two-week target for cancer diagnosis hasn’t been met for years, and now the A&E target is flat-lining, instead of an urgent solution, it’s the target that becomes the problem.
Despite our own personal nit-picking with the four-hour target, on a system-wide level it is a really good barometer of what the NHS is really like on the ground: ever busier clinics, ever harder to get to GPs, ever sicker and ever more patients. To take my daughter to the GP last year was a four-week wait. There isn’t a target for that, and this is probably exactly why. 
I don’t believe the four-hour target is being scrapped because of “clinical need”, and neither do the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, who have said there isn’t “a viable alternative”. Without the four-hour target we could very well let low acuity patients wait in A&E for literally days, but there wouldn’t be any data to let the outside world know how bad it’s gotten. It’s another move to reduce the headlines that are damaging to this Tory government, but devastating for the actual patient’s here on the ground. A cynical move to escape scrutiny and mendacious to suggest otherwise.
I’d imagine this will be the start of removing more and more of these targets and metrics. Soon, the only way to evidence the crisis enveloping our healthcare system will be via the photos we are forced to take on our phones. That is, unless the prime minister pockets them too. 
 Dominic Pimenta is a cardiology registrar and author. He tweets at @juniordrblog.Related... Matt Hancock Hints At Scrapping Of NHS Waiting Targets Sepsis Symptoms To Look Out For, As Study Reveals It Causes One In Five Deaths Globally My Husband Said He’d Get A Vasectomy But Hasn’t. I’m Okay With That
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.