Targets are increasing clinical negligence risk, surgeons say

  • Posted

Posted 16/06/2010

Targets set by NHS officials are putting surgeons under pressure and increasing the likelihood of clinical negligence, it has been claimed.

A poll of the medics carried out by Bournemouth University for the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons found that many are unhappy with poor staffing levels and insufficient equipment.

Meanwhile, 19 per cent said they had been involved in an incident in which a patient was harmed and many reported having to operate on people they have never even seen before, BBC News reports.

Bournemouth University’s Professor Colin Pritchard, lead author of the study, said: “The key is the influence – and often the malign influence – of managers who are concerned with meeting targets.”

The Patients’ Association criticised the way hospitals are treating people and likened it to a “production line”.

Last year, a study published by Imperial College London claimed that one in six NHS patients could be at risk of being misdiagnosed in hospital or by their GP.

Sandra Patton, a clinical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, comments: “This poll comes as no surprise. We are frequently approached by patients who have had poor outcomes from surgery and in many cases they are concerned that they first saw the surgeon on the day of their operation.

“It is inevitable that increasingly tough targets have threatened patient care and as the cuts in public services start to bite it is deeply worrying that standards may fall further.”


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