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Date: 5 August 2004

New ways of measuring performance needed - UNISON comments on Auditor-General's NHS report

UNISON, Scotland's Public Service union, said that new ways of marking performance and setting targets are needed if improvements in our NHS are to be accurately measured.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said; "Scots have a right to expect high performance from their NHS and that wont be achieved only by attempting to measure it by financial cost accounting measures. Unless monitoring takes into account the wide range of factors that determine performance, it will not show the true service delivery. It will need to include resources available, and the needs of the community as well as the service delivered, if we are to assess improvements properly."

The union, who are the largest in the NHS, also fears the pressure for improvements could lead to the growth of a 'Scrutiny Industry' with duplicate bodies set up to monitor performance.

"We are rightly proud of the fact that our NHS spends less on administration than most healthcare systems in the world." Says Matt, "We don't want to see more and more quangos set up simply to count the pennies."

Matt also called for an accurate measurement of the true costs of PFI/PPP funding of new developments. "The whole area of PFI funding is bedevilled with secrecy and so-called commercial confidentiality." He said.

"It is disappointing that the Auditor-General hasn't identified the need to assess the amounts of money going into shareholders pockets or having to be spent to cure building problems like the excessive heat at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. PFI remains a hugely wasteful system of building new facilities and it is time that the full costs were identified."


For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) - 0845 355 0845(o) 07771 548 997(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)




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