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Scottish Government urged to reform health and care targets

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Will Scottish ministers dare to ditch waiting times targets?

A report into the use of targets and indicators in Scotland’s health and care services has called for a different approach to replace the current fragmented system.

A review led by former chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns says that there should be a move to a system that allows improvement across the whole patient journey to be tracked — and warns that focusing on single targets (such as hospital waiting times) does not give a full picture.

In particular, the report warns that the current 18-week target from referral to treatment risks distorting clinical judgement and should be scrapped, although it says the 12-week treatment guarantee (after a decision has been made to treat) should be maintained.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said that targets would remain in place but that work would be undertaken to find out how best to capture and report people’s wider experience of care to drive improvement.

Further information

Scottish Government: Targets and indicators in health and social care in Scotland