Missing the Target

The NHS has been the focus of much recent pre-election debate. A huge amount of the debate has centred on the service’s (in)ability to hit one particular target; that 95% of patients attending A&E will be seen within 4 hours.

It is remarkable that one single statistic has become a shorthand with which to capture the status of a £100bn plus organisation employing more than 1.2m people in England alone. Of course, getting treated promptly in an emergency is important but if the result came in consistently at 95.1% would that mean that everything in the world of the NHS was rosy? Of course not, any more than a result of 94.9% would mean that everything was wrong.

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