'Intelligent' Targets Will Be Geared towards Giving Patients Better Care; Focus on 'Quality Agenda' to Provide World-Class Health Services in Wales

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Byline: Madeleine Brindley

ANEW generation of targets will improve patient treatment and outcomes in the NHS in Wales.

Intelligent targets have been devised to improve the quality of services and ensure patients get better outcomes.

They are the latest step towards the Welsh Assembly Government's aim of creating a world-class health service for Wales.

Intelligent targets are currently being piloted in areas of stroke and cardiac care and in mental health services.

But it is expected they will be rolled out across the NHS.

Carl James, the intelligent targets programme director, said: "We have got to a position where we have achieved a very significant breakthrough in waiting times.

"Now, in line with the One Wales commitment and Designed for Life, we are moving towards and centring on the quality agenda.

"The challenge for the next three to five years is how we provide services that are truly comparable with the best."

And Dr Alan Willson, director of research and development at the National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare, said: "Intelligent targets are outcome focused so they are very much geared to providing better care for patients whereas sometimes targets can feel as though they are slightly artificial.

"In the past we have sometimes focused on measuring input like have we got the right number of beds or trained staff.

"Intelligent targets now say what happens to patients? Do they get the right therapy on time, etc? "This is a much better way of trying to achieve change and patients can expect to receive better care. They will know it is reliable and will be the same whether they have a stroke, for example, at 12pm on a Sunday or 6pm on a Monday - it's not about who happens to be on and which doctor you saw."

Intelligent targets, which have been designed in consultation with clinicians, aim to ensure that patients get timely access to safe, efficient and effective services.

They will build on the work done by the 1,000 Lives campaign over the last two years to improve patient safety and prevent unnecessary harm. …