Patients missing waiting time targets for NHS operations to 'double next year'

Jane Richards
March 21, 2017

NHS Providers, which represents hospital, mental health, and ambulance trusts, made the warning, saying front-line services simply do not have enough money to be able to cope.

Reaching hospital performances targets has been described as "mission Impossible" by NHS Providers in a report released today, as the organisation also called for "realism, flexibility and support" in the NHS's approach to performance figures.

Its report - titled Mission Impossible?

The report highlights the demands that are being placed on NHS trusts compared against next year's significantly lower funding increases, revealing a "currently unbridgeable gap".

NHS Providers also estimated that the extra cost of delivering key performance targets in areas such as A&E and routine operations came to a staggering £2.4bn - £3.1bn in the next year.

The NHS budget is increasing this Parliament, but not by as much as the health service has traditionally got.

However, they must do this while collectively balancing their books and with "sharply reduced" NHS England funding, with increases dropping from 3.6% this year to 1.3% in 2017-18.

"We're now quite a long way off the four hour A&E target, we're now quite a long way off the 92% of waiting times [target] and we're also having to make up a £800, if you took all of those into account we estimate you would need an extra £3.5bn next year in order to deliver all of those targets and eliminate the provider deficit".

A Department of Health spokeswoman said more money was being put into the NHS, and that the Budget had set aside funding for social care which would help ease the pressure on hospitals.

"Nor does it acknowledge the hard work of NHS staff treating more than 900,000 more people a year in A&E within four hours, or performing more than 1.9 million more operations annually than in 2010".

"We fear that patient safety is increasingly at risk".

"NHS trusts are treating more patients than ever before and performance remains good by worldwide standards", he said.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "It is unprecedented for us to warn the NHS will not be able to deliver on its commitments before the financial year has even started".

"If we are to maximise the use of NHS resources, plan properly, treat staff fairly and be straight with the public".

Additionally, 83% of nurses asked said that they felt staffing levels were not safe.

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