Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lib Dem policies

Peter at Liberal Review is, erm, questioning the wisdom of some of the LibDems' conference motions. Like this one:

Conference calls for:

1. Nutritional awareness to be part of training for doctors, nurses and other relevant staff in hospitals and the community so that all are aware of patients at risk of malnutrition in hospital.
2. The creation of national standards on nutrition, to be adhered to by staff of all hospitals, including nutritional scoring on admission and referral to a dietician to be a matter of course for all patients at risk.
3. Hospitals to establish regular meetings of relevant staff to consider nutrition within their own unit.

There are a few quite sensible people in the LibDems. Unfortunately none of them seem to be involved in agenda setting for the conference. I mean, does anyone really think that the answer to hospitals leaving patients to starve (that's what "malnutrition" means here isn't it?) is to appoint a committee to tell them not to?

We can see where this will lead. After appointing a committee to determine the national standards, the party could set up a panel to assess how many patients are in fact getting their nutritional scoring. They could set a target for how many this should be. There could be incentives for hospitals to hit the target and fines for those who don't.

Listen guys, there is no point in having another party whose solution to all known problems is targets and bureaucrats. We've seen the results with Labour already. We certainly don't need another set of targets to get in the way of clinical priorities. All this policy will acheive is patients having their diets assessed instead of their ailments.