NHS England set to miss two key targets of COVID recovery plan, new report warns, as MP says health service in ‘total crisis’ | UK news

NHS England is in “total crisis”, health chiefs have warned, as a scathing new report from MPs says the health service is set to miss two key targets in its COVID recovery plan.

The report, by the multiparty Public Accounts Committee, warns that NHS England is set to miss its target of reducing the number of people waiting more than 62 days for their first cancer treatment after an urgent GP referral for pre-COVID levels.

The committee also described NHS England’s route to increasing elective care activity to 129% of pre-pandemic levels by 2024/25 as “unreachable”.

The committee said the plan for dealing with COVID delays, set out by NHS England and the government last year, was “falling short”.

He described the situation with cancer waiting times in particular as “unacceptable” and urged England’s government and NHS to do “whatever is necessary” to bring levels back to an acceptable standard.

Commenting on the report, Dame Meg Hillier MP, chairman of the committee, said: “Despite a significant infusion of money intended to start helping the recovery from the pandemic, the NHS is in full crisis and all the metrics are in the wrong direction.

“Based on the evidence we have received, the NHS will not meet the targets of its recovery plan, and that means that health, longevity and quality of life indicators will continue to slide backwards for the people of this country.

“This is simply disgraceful and totally unacceptable in a nation as rich as ours.”

However, NHS chiefs say the report “fails to recognize the significant progress made by NHS staff” on the plan – agreed with the government – despite “record pressures seen across the health and care system”.

They also said a record number of patients had come forward for tests and examinations, while the government said it had opened 92 community diagnostic centers, with 19 more scheduled to open this year.

One particular area of ​​concern raised in the committee’s report was the waiting time for cancer treatment, which it described as “especially concerning”.

The NHS England targets are that 85% of people who have been urgently referred by their GP and have confirmed cancer should start treatment within 62 days.

But only 62% of patients reached that goal over the course of the year, according to the report.

More than 8,000 people, about 11% of patients, waited more than 104 days between urgent referral and first care.

“It is now clear that the target of reducing the number of people waiting longer than 62 days after an urgent referral from a general practitioner to the pre-pandemic level will not be reached until March 2023,” the report warned.

The committee also warned that NHS England was on the verge of missing its 2025 target where no patient will have to wait more than 52 weeks for elective care.

See more information:
About 23,000 excess deaths ‘linked to emergency waits’

Sir Rod Stewart pays for patient exams
NHS staff’s distress revealed by watchdog

The report said being so “out of the way” means more patients are “waiting too long” and added that wait times for cancer “are at their worst on record”.

He asked the heads of NHS England to explain how they spent £14 billion in extra funds to help clean up the country’s backlog of health problems and improve cancer services in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

NHS England’s three-year recovery plan, agreed with the government last year, involves setting targets for dealing with the further backlog of cancer patients and elective care, as the focus shifts to tackling COVID.

Part of the plan involves creating new operating theaters and community diagnostic centers and using general practitioners to manage elective care cases rather than sending patients to hospital doctors.

Leave a Comment