Hospital staff set up to fail by conflicting targets, says Northampton General Hospital boss

Northampton General Hospital
Northampton General Hospital

Hospital staff are too often asked to meet targets that conflict with each other, sometimes making it impossible to succeed, according to the boss of NGH.

Like all hospitals, Northampton General Hospital is not only overseen by Monitor, but also the Trust Development Authourity (TDA), NHS England and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Dr Sonia Swart said conflicting targets have an impact on already demoralised nurses and doctors.

She said: “It needs to be co-ordinated better so that we concentrate on what matters most, which is delivering the best care to patients for the best value.

“If you don’t get this right then staff on the ground can easily say, ‘well I don’t know what matters most.

“And it gives them the exact feeling of ‘I’m going to fail at something today’.

“Either I’m going to miss the A&E target or I’m going to have to move patients into the wrong bed or I’m going to have to put too much pressure on the ward staff who need a bit longer to get the bed free.”

Dr Swart said less emphasis on conflicting targets would allow the NHS to come up with a plan for the future. She said: “If someone is on a treadmill running as fast as they can, it’s not the right time to redesign the treadmill. That’s how it feels.”