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Target culture at fault?

10th August 2006

Commenting on figures obtained by the Conservative Party, Nigel Edwards, NHS Confederation policy director, says that efforts to meet accident and emergency waiting time targets could have contributed to a sharp rise in the number of emergency readmissions.

The figures show that almost 200,000 people were readmitted as emergency cases in England last year compared with approximately 150,000 in 2003. Mr Edwards said: 'It is possible that in some cases perhaps patients are being sent home because of the four-hour wait [target], but I think it very unlikely that patients are being sent home where doctors feel it unsafe to do so.'

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