Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Things have to get worse before they get better

New Scottish Deputy First Minister and Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon will be announcing this week a strategy for tackling waiting lists. All politicians like to sound tough on waiting lists - waiting lists must come down they all agree but no-one actually knows how to do it and instead they set arbitrary targets which clinicians spend their time struggling to meet.

We now have the situation where there are waiting lists to get onto the reportable waiting lists - the figures look good but people are still waiting to be seen. My suggestion to Nicola Sturgeon is to strip away the previously set targets and take some time to properly assess the situation without taking into account hidden lists.

There will be a short-term hit and bad publicity as the times appear to go up massively, but if a government is serious about tackling problems it must first know exactly what these problems are and have the guts to put in place a strategy which will achieve long-term results, even at the expense of short-term bad headlines.

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