Hospital Bans 'Routine' Complaints to Hit Targets

The Evening Standard (London, England), January 21, 2008 | Go to article overview

Hospital Bans 'Routine' Complaints to Hit Targets


Byline: AMY IGGULDEN

THOUSANDS of patients have been banned from a top specialist hospital tohelp meet government targets, the Standard has learned.

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital is refusing to accept "routine"complaints in a bid to cut waiting lists.

Bosses at the Stanmore trust have ordered family doctors to divert up to 4,300people a year to other hospitals.

It is part of a plan to hit a key government target that no patient waits over18 weeks for treatment.

But campaigners today accused the trust of betraying patients to please theDepartment of Health. Medics fear the practice of diverting people is becomingwidespread as hospitals struggle to meet the target by December.

Damning report Only three out of 10 orthopaedic patients are seen within theset time.

Michael Summers, vice chairman of the Patients' Association, said: "This issimply cheating. It is depriving patients of treatment by using a device tomeet the Government demand. Patients are being denied the right to choose wherethey go for treatment." Under a flagship Labour policy patients are supposed topick which hospital they want to go to. But the move by the RNOH meansthousands can no longer choose it via their GP for hip and knee operations,lower back pain and rehabilitation. report criticises

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a GP in Stanmore and a member of the British MedicalAssociation family doctors committee, said: "This makes a mockery of the ideaof patient choice. …

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