Vision of Hospitals with No Queues; HEALTH: 'Management the Key'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

Vision of Hospitals with No Queues; HEALTH: 'Management the Key'


Byline: TOMOS LIVINGSTONE

WAITING lists for operations in Welsh hospitals could be wiped out in little more than a year, it was claimed last night.

All that NHS trusts have to do is follow the lead of hospitals in the Morgannwg Health Authority area.

According to a report by the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care, Morgannwg is performing far more GP-referred operations than any other health authority in Wales.

This is not at the expense of other services, nor are hospitals like Morriston, Swansea, or Princess of Wales, Bridgend, getting any more cash.

The report concludes that better management is the key and that other health authorities would be wise to learn the lessons.

If all five health authorities in Wales matched the performance of Morgannwg 61,000 more elective operations could be done in Wales this year, it suggests.

As the waiting list in Wales stands at about 68,000, the entire list could disappear in 14 months.

The report, Why are we waiting? , suggests there is a prima facie case that NHS Wales is underperforming by 61,000 elective cases a year.

While it stresses that its purpose is not to castigate hard-working health workers, it calls on politicians and managers to use the information, already in the public domain, to reduce waiting lists.

The report says, "It should not be beyond the wit of a curious corporate management team to devise a few simple but telling measures linking outputs to inputs that might begin to point up the reasons for differential performance."

A senior fellow at the institute, Tony Beddow, said, "This data has been in the public domain for 10 years. The old Welsh Office said that it was wrong; they adjusted the data but it still tells the same story.

"Simply by increasing activity in Bro Taf and Gwent it ought to be the case that the performance improves."

Mr Beddow said more research needed to be done to pinpoint the reasons behind the differences in activity.

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