'Targets and terror' worked, and without them questions remain over whether the NHS can guarantee acceptable waiting times.
Targets have been popularly iconic of all that is supposedly bad with government: big, centralist, Stalinist … and the bossing about of respectable healthcare professionals by state bureaucrats.
But the fact remains that 'targets and terror' worked, and research that has been able to untangle cause and effect shows that waiting times were achieved without detectable harm.
Nevertheless, it seems that targets have had their day. Or have they?