Judge NHS by effect of treatment says minister

The Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, has said that the new targets in the NHS will measure the real difference that effective treatment makes to patients and will be more meaningful than simple time-based targets, such as the maximum eight minute wait for an emergency ambulance.

I want us to judge the success of our services by measuring things which make a difference to patients and the effectiveness of the treatment they receive. This development work will make sure that what we measure is more meaningful in terms of clinical benefit and outcomes for patients, rather than on the basis of time alone.

The eight minute ambulance target is in many ways an arbitrary figure rather than being based on patient or clinical evidence. We will be sharing the results of the development work widely and will be holding public discussions on the findings before any decisions about future measures.

– Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM

Between April 2014 and March 2015, the new targets will run alongside existing ones. They will cover emergency treatment, with new measures for cancer treatment and planned care to be introduced later this year.

We will be working with clinicians to develop measures of urgent and emergency care which make sense to people using these services and which give a clearer sense of quality of care. Like other measures of safety and quality in Wales, we will make these transparently available to allow people to see easily how their local health service is doing.

– Dr Grant Robinson

Dr Robinson is the Welsh Government's clinical lead for improvement in unscheduled care.

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New 'patient-focused' targets for Welsh NHS

The Welsh NHS is to trial new "patient-focused" targets. They will measure how quickly effective treatment began. Existing targets based on the wait for an ambulance and time spent in A&E will be kept for now but reviewed after the year-long trial.