Figures Indicate that NHS is Failing to Meet Numerous Key Targets

Research indicates that hospitals across England have failed to meet numerous waiting time targets in November.

Official figures show that ambulances, the 111 phone service and cancer services all missed key targets.

Meanwhile, accident and emergency managed to see 91.3 per cent of patients in four hours, which represented the worst performance in November since records began back in 2010.

Additionally, the six-week target for diagnostic tests also went by the wayside.

This was by no means the first occasion that this particular target had not been met, as this has been consistently the case over the last two years.

The discharging of patience was also problematical, with this issue subject to 153,000 days of delays.

This was the second highest figure on record.

But there was good news with regard to the 18-week waiting time for routine operations, with hospitals satisfactorily meeting this particular requirement.

Routine operations refers to such surgery as hip and knee replacements.

Unfortunately, the pressure being placed on the NHS by both financial and logistical issues means that many targets have proved impossible for the health service to meet.

Hospitals have been struggling with many of these targets for the past year or so – and similar challenges are being experienced by the health systems in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ambulances missed their target to answer 75 per cent of the most serious 999 calls in eight minutes, and this was the sixth consecutive month in which this failure had occurred.

And A&E units missed their four-hour target to see, treat or discharge A&E patients.

This was the 14th time in 15 months that this area of performance has dropped below the requisite 95 per cent.

At the end of the month, 1.6 per cent of patients had been waiting more than six weeks for diagnostic tests – above the 1 per cent target.

One of the key cancer targets – the 62-day target for treatment to start – was missed with 83.5 per cent of patients seen in that timeframe, below the 85 per cent target.

The NHS 111 phone service missed its target to answer 95 per cent of calls within 60 seconds. One in 10 patients waited longer.

Overall, the picture painted by the statistics is one of a failing health service that is struggling to deliver the level of performance desired by the government.

This will be particularly worrying considering the plan which David Cameron has expressed regarding creating a seven-day NHS culture.

Additionally, financial problems in the NHS are quite evident, while both junior doctors and nurses are strongly opposing government schemes for the health service.


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