Performance measurement and the UK emergency ambulance service: Unintended consequences of the ambulance response time targets

Wankhade, Paresh (2011) Performance measurement and the UK emergency ambulance service: Unintended consequences of the ambulance response time targets. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 24 (5). pp. 384-402. ISSN 0951-3558

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the performance measurement in the UK NHS ambulance service documenting various unintended consequences of the current performance framework and to suggest a future research agenda. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the literature on ambulance performance targets and documents several unintended consequences of the current performance system through an in-depth case study analysis based on interviews with Trust staff and policy experts along with observation of performance review meetings in the chosen Trust. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from a local NHS research ethics committee. Findings – Significant unintended consequences of the ambulance performance targets based on response times have been systematically documented, which are likely to put the target under spotlight, especially that of the eight-minute response. The current policy focus to reform the eight-minute target by making it more stringent has the potential of jeopardising the reform agenda based on developing clinical skills of the paramedics and introducing clinical management in the service. Practical implications – The paper makes an objective assessment of the sustainability of the current policy framework and identifies future lines of enquiry for further research. Originality/value – This paper makes an original contribution in identifying and documenting the disjuncture between stated and unintended consequences of ambulance performance measurement, which will be of value to academics, practitioners and policy makers.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Ambulances, National Health Service, Performance measures, Perversity, Response time targets, Unintended consequences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Business School
Depositing User: Users 3 not found.
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2014 13:30
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2015 14:31
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/353

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