Death in the Queue
The government is to take the controversial and potentially unpopular step of scrapping four-hour waiting time targets in accident and emergency departments and instead focus on delivering the "best possible results for patients", it said yesterday.
Lansley said that lower waiting times were "not a measure of the result for patients" as had been shown at Stafford hospital where between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected over three years.
He announced that a public inquiry into the unnecessary deaths of at least 400 patients at Stafford hospital, which had been rejected by the Labour government, would question senior NHS officials at the hospital's trust, as well as the local and national NHS bodies.
Sadly it seems that some sort of stick is needed to goad the NHS into actually deigning to treat patients before they die, but the crude stopwatch approach wasn't the best way. Whether there is a best way with the system we have is open to question.