NHS targets review pledge by Carwyn Jones

Ambulances queue outside Wrexham Maelor hospital Mr Jones said the NHS faced "challenges" from rising demand and budget cuts

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Targets for treating patients on the NHS are being reviewed and could be replaced, the first minister has said.

Carwyn Jones said one option was giving doctors the ability to set treatment targets for individual patients instead of setting national targets.

At a monthly briefing he went on the offensive over Labour's handling of the NHS following criticism by opponents.

He launched a new website that compiles data about the health service which he said would "drive up performance".

The website - mylocalhealthservice.wales.gov.uk - provides data on performance relating to health targets as well as patient surveys.

Start Quote

Carwyn Jones

We have made a firm commitment to transparency in the NHS”

End Quote Carwyn Jones First minister

At a news conference in Cardiff, Mr Jones tried to take on "myths" about the health service, saying patient satisfaction was high and that in some areas - such as access to cancer drugs - the NHS in Wales was outperforming England.

However, he said the NHS faced "challenges" from rising demand and budget cuts, adding that some of the current targets may have an "adverse impact in terms of patient care".

"All targets are being looked at to see how appropriate they are," he said.

"One possibility is, for example, providing targets for the individual patient, rather than having a generic target - how feasible is that?

"Can we go in that direction which means a target is tailored to an individual and that target is set not here, but by clinicians themselves? That's one possibility."

'Absolutely committed'

The new website on patient data provides information for each of the seven health board region including:

  • Hospital information, such as mortality rates, healthcare infection rates and nurse ratios
  • Progress on preventative measures to address health issues such as heart disease and stroke
  • Links to reports and locally-published performance data

Mr Jones said: "We have made a firm commitment to transparency in the NHS.

"Gathering together key performance datasets into one place and explaining them clearly is part of our delivery on that commitment."

Welsh Conservatives have been calling for an inquiry after reports critical of Welsh hospitals and management.

Hywel Dda Health Board said it was "absolutely committed" to ensuring patients can access relevant healthcare performance information.

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