A&E four-hour target to be scrapped

13 Mars, 2019, 17:53 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Accident and emergency

He later added: "As one of the secrets behind the best performing A&E in the country, our GP's see patients and educate them on conditions to avoid frequent re attenders as they are signposted to be treated by the right person, at the right time".

The target, which The Parliamentary Review reported last month is met for just 84 per cent of patients, expects that 95 per cent of patients are seen within four hours of arriving at A&E.

Since ending the four-hour target was first mooted it has raised fears that it could lead to patients being left untreated for hours, and concern that the move might be motivated by political expediency rather than patient safety.

The flagship four-hour Accident & Emergency target will be scrapped and replaced with a new deadline which only covers the most critical conditions.

On cancer, as previously announced, a new measure will mean that people with suspected cancer will receive a definitive diagnosis within 28 days of urgent referral by their GP or a screening service.

The current 18-week target for people to start treatment could also be replaced by one measuring the average time taken to start treatment.

A&E four-hour target to be scrapped

The pilot schemes aim for mental health patients attending A&E in crisis to receive emergency treatment within an hour. Richard Murray, chief executive of the King's Fund think-tank, welcomed the new standards on cancer and mental health but warned: "Without enough staff and resources to care for patients, targets both new and old will continue to be missed".

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said: "NHS targets never work as expected in the real world, so the idea of testing out new proposals and carefully monitoring the effect on patients is a big improvement on the usual directive approach".

Standards for non-urgent operations, now supposed to be 18 weeks from referral to treatment, will also be reviewed.

In addition, the proposals will strengthen rules on reporting long waits for those who need to be admitted to a ward, including reporting the most serious cases to the Care Quality Commission watchdog.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's national medical director and leader of the review, said: "The NHS is aiming to improve care for patients and save hundreds of thousands more lives over the coming years, with greater access to mental health support, better treatment for the major killer conditions and services which are more joined-up, personalised and closer to home".

"Due to social care funding being cut, the numbers visiting A&E has soared nationally", he said.

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