Comment: ‘Targets seem to count more than care’

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Shortly after the news that Grantham would lose its maternity unit we have received news that the body in charge of running Lincolnshire’s hospitals is in a sad state of affairs.

Part of the blame has fallen on communication problems. More has been attributed to a lack of resources. How much did this lack of competence on behalf of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust affect the decision to cut into Grantham Hospital? If Grantham was not meeting targets necessary to keep the maternity unit, it is surely due in part to the Trust’s board members who have now come under fire.

We have been told that staffing levels are behind a lot of the trouble in the county’s hospitals and the NHS Trust are now acting in hiring 80 new nurses “immediately” according to chief executive of the Trust Jane Lewington.

It is good to see that it takes a situation such as this to act on inadequate nursing levels rather than listening to those who work 12 hour shifts with little assistance and have complained that the public may not be getting the care they should.

In the report, it is shown that Grantham Hospital does not get quite the share of the blame that Lincoln and Boston does. While this is certainly positive news for locals, it may also signal money, and therefore services, being drawn away to hit targets elsewhere.

After all, it is quantifiable targets that count now, not so much the intangible care to vulnerable patients.