NHS Waiting Times at Three-Year High in England

Surgeons are raising the alarm over UK treatment waiting times, the NHS has been given warning regarding these waiting times, and an independent health think tank the “Kings Fund” indicates waiting times are at a 3-year high.

Statistics for February show us that 15% of patients have waited more than 18 weeks for treatment. This is the longest recorded waiting time since April 2008, but is not necessarily all a bad thing. The easing of targets allows hospitals more freedom to make decisions on clinical needs, but by the same token waiting standards should not be let slip too far.

The National Health Service has tried to bring this to light; that these figures include some patients who have voluntarily delayed their own treatment times, and that the real percentage should look more like 10.2% of patients awaiting treatment.

The Kings Fund is arguing however, that the figures are due to Government financial reforms and pressures on the NHS. David Cameron’s top down shake-up of the NHS has distracted front-line staff and that the strain of this is now showing.

In England, the National Health Service quantifies waiting for hospital treatment from the date written on the General Practitioners letter requesting that their patient be seen and any necessary treatment commenced.

According to the NHS constitution, the “waiting standard” is 18 weeks, which is the maximum time period before the patient should receive treatment, and while the health service still collects all the data, the government is no longer “performance managing” the waiting standard. This indicates that the health service is no longer operating in the same climate, which might also mean waiting standards may get worse in the future.

Surgeons have recently expressed their concerns with the introduction of new thresholds for hip and knee replacements, and GPs have been asked to hold back on referring patients to hospitals. Hip and knee replacements are relatively routine procedures which have been put on hold for more months than is actually necessary.

They also don’t appear in the statistics for official waiting times, as localised limitations take place prior to entry into the paper trail “waiting standard” system. Patients who need to wait longer while in pain, may not have as good an expected outcome post-operatively.

There were also worries expressed that for example hip and knee replacements were targeted as a means of finding savings as part of the drive for £20 billion efficiency savings by the NHS for 2015.

Despite the Kings Fund analysis, cancer patients are still being seen by specialists quickly and cases of MRSA as well as Clostridium difficile (C diff) have continued to drop. These hospital infections are generally a good benchmark for hospital performance per se.

Very good service from Rauri – he has been very helpful and thorough.

Kathryn Wright
Reviews.co.uk Logo
Compare Top 10 UK Insurers
Takes approx. 60 seconds

Or call us on 0208 432 7333

Compare Top UK Health Insurer Quotes Logos
Contact Us
Head Office & Pensions and Investments
Senator House
85 Queen Victoria Street
Personal Insurance & Accounts Payable
Telecom House
125-135 Preston Road
Drewberry London Office MapDrewberry Brighton Office Map
Our Core Principles
  • 1You Come FirstWe are a client focused business who always aim to put you first.
  • 2We are ExpertsTo provide you with the best advice, we need to know our stuff!
  • 3We are HumanWe are real people with feelings who are here to help you.
  • 4We are ProfessionalProviding a 5-star service requires a professional approach to everything we do.
  • 5We are here to EducateWe don't believe in sales, we are here to educate so you can make informed decisions.
Finalist - Moneyfacts AwardsFinalist - Cover Excellence AwardsHighly Commended - Protection Review Awards
Proud member of AMII (Association of Medical Insurers & Intermediaries)Proud member of Money Advice ServiceProud member of UnbiasedProud member of BIBA (British Insurance Brokers' Association)

If you are unhappy with our service, we have a complaints procedure, details of which are available upon request. If you are unhappy with how your complaint has been dealt with, you may be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS website is www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Drewberry Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Companies House No. 06675912

Drewberry Ltd registered office: Telecom House, Preston Road, Brighton, England, BN1 6AF. Telephone 0208 432 7333

Drewberry Ltd (Financial Conduct Authority No. 505473) is an Appointed Representative of Quilter Wealth Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning

Limited, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Drewberry™ uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacycookie policy.