Essential reading for the healthcare business
 
 
Remember me:
Skip Navigation LinksHealthInvestor article
NHS failing to cut waiting lists, finds NAO

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO), ‘NHS waiting times for elective and cancer treatment’, has raised concerns over the lack of capacity in the NHS and resulting increase in waiting times for patients.

While the report acknowledges that the NHS has increased the number of people it treats each year, it found that the percentage of patients treated within waiting times standards continues to decline for elective (non-urgent care) and cancer treatment.

The elective care standard – 92% of patients seen within 18 weeks after referral – was introduced in 2012 and was last met nationally in February 2016. The waiting list has grown from 2.7 million to 4.2 million between March 2013 and November 2018 and the number waiting more than 18 weeks has grown from 153,000 to 528,000.

Similarly, the target for cancer care – 85% of patients treated within 62 days of an urgent GP referral – has not been met since the end of 2013. According to the report, in November last year only 38% of NHS trusts met this standard.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, commended the NHS’s actions to increase the number of urgent cancer referrals, helping more patients to be diagnosed at earlier stages, but said this has resulted in waiting times standards for cancer care no longer being met.

Morse added: “With rising demand for care as well as constraints in capacity, it’s hard to see how the NHS will be able to turn around this position without significant investment in additional staffing and infrastructure.”

The NAO estimates that an additional one-off cost of £700 million is required by the NHS to reduce the elective care waiting list to the size last seen in March 2018, and is calling on NHS England and NHS Improvement to set out how declining performance will be addressed.

David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), said that additional support will be needed to improve waiting times. He said: “It’s vital that the significant spare capacity in the independent sector is utilised by local areas to ensure patients can we treated as quickly as possible, including through exercising their right to choose the best care provider for them.”

Last week NHS England proposed to end the 18-week waiting standard for elective care, replacing it with an average waiting target; if introduced, patients will be offered the choice of an alternative provider, which could be independent. This supports plans laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan, which committed to an increase in planned surgery delivered, thus cutting waiting lists.

David Furness (pictured), director of policy at IHPN, told HealthInvestor UK: “In the last few years the NHS has been carrying out less elective activity which has had a knock-on effect on referrals to the independent sector. As a result waiting times are at record levels and the NHS has not met the legal standard to treat 92% of patients within 18 weeks for three years.

“We therefore welcomed the recent NHS Long Term Plan which committed to increase the amount of planned surgery delivered year-on-year, including through making use of independent sector capacity. What we now need to see from NHS England is a clear delivery plan on how to get waiting times down, including a national programme to identify spare capacity in the system and fulfil the new promise to offer those waiting over 26 weeks a choice of faster treatment elsewhere”

Posted on: 22/03/2019

Latest news stories

17/06/2019
AECOM has been appointed by Ireland’s Health Service Executive to provide technical advisory and cost management services to deliver a public-private partnership bundle of community nursing units.
14/06/2019
Patron Capital could be in line to acquire the 24 ‘Brighterkind’ care homes still owned by Terra Firma, according to Sky News.
13/06/2019
UK senior living sector is set to increase by 40% in value to £55.2 billion in 2023 – up from £39.6 billion in 2019 – with growth underpinned by demographic shifts and increased investment
13/06/2019
Given the challenges faced by the health and social care sector, it’s those who are leading the charge for change and improvement that must be recognised.
11/06/2019
Real estate investment trust Impact Healthcare has exchanged contracts on three acquisitions worth a total initial investment of £20.2 million.


Civica


HealthInvestor blog
As one of the UK’s largest care providers goes into administration, is it time to consider a more sustainable investment model to provide security for the country’s most vulnerable citizens?

Click here to view the HealthInvestor blog


Against the backdrop of a robust healthcare market with positive macro factors, speakers and delegates delved into the opportunities and challenges, and analysed the changing face of the region’s healthcare market
Athena Care Homes’ managing director is a daughter of immigrant parents who grew up in Basildon, Essex with her seven siblings, in a house where there was never a dull moment. That also meant her future was very much in her own hands
Medbelle is one of the best-rated medical providers in the UK. It is also a hospital without concrete walls – rather it is a ‘digital hospital’ offering self-pay elective procedures. Marie Cahalane goes on a digital journey with co-founder and managing director Leander de Laporte for a better understanding of how it works and its successes to date
As the Competition & Markets Authority prepares to launch a major investigation into the fragmented and largely unregulated funeral services sector, Rob Munro asks if the time is right for consolidation
As direct-to-consumer genetic testing gains popularity among millennials and early adopters, Rob Munro reviews the technology and considers the opportunities and potential pitfalls for investors

Click here to search all feature articles



Alantra Specialist Care Fast 50
According to global mid-market investment bank Alantra's latest report, the UK's specialist care market is growing and offers an attractive investment opportunity for those prepared to put quality at the top of the agenda. Justin Crowther, partner and head of healthcare at Alantra, gives an overview of the findings
Read more


Christie + Co

my images



Funerals

As the Competition & Markets Authority prepares to launch a major investigation into the fragmented and largely unregulated funeral services sector, Rob Munro asks if the time is right for consolidation
Read more