This tale from a friend tells the story of the government's targets and how their reality is rather different to the propaganda which they are used to create. Dr X is a specialist registrar, only a few years off being a consultant, and Dr X was working an on call shift at Hospital X somewhere in Joseph Stalin Brown's NHS.
Dr X was rushed off his/feet and had four very sick patients to deal with. One of these patients was is status epilepticus, while the others were all not far away from needing a trip to the intensive care unit; hence Dr X felt he/she needed to stabilise these patients before doing anything else. Dr X was pretty tired, dehydrated and in need of a break, but he/she soldiered on anyway.
Dr X then got a call from a manager who informed him/her that there were some patients in AE that were about to 'breach', ie go beyond the 4hr AE waiting target. Dr X politely told the manager that he/she had to sort through the patients based on clinical need, not political need; and that the patients waiting in AE were not nearly as unwell as those which he/she was currently in the process of sorting.
Dr X then continued about her business but was rung again by the busybody manager. The manager informed him/her that should they not see the patients before they 'breached', there may be a question of disciplining him/her. Again Dr X told the manager that it would not be appropriate to risk the lives of critically ill patients to prevent these patients 'breaching'.
Dr X stuck to her guns and sorted out the sick patients, and in fact Dr X stayed in several hours late to ensure that all the patients were sorted out appropriately. The kind manager had promised to find Dr X somewhere to sleep in the hospital as it was too late for Dr X to get home. Unfortunately the manager rang Dr X to say that this was not possible in the end and that Dr X would have to sort something out. In the end Dr X slept on a friend's floor on some hospital linen as work began bright and early the next day at 6am.
This tale is no exception, it is now a matter of routine for managers to abuse highly skilled doctors in this way. This is how a Soviet style system works, the most incompetent and stupid people rise to the top so that they can order around the most able. If something goes wrong it's always the fault of the able person on the ground, it could never be blamed on managers who bully and victimise staff to satisfy our dictators in government. This is NuLabour down to a tee, this is Gordon's idea of progress.