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NHS must focus on routine care to tackle growing waiting lists, says spending watchdog

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1350 (Published 22 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1350
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London, UK

The National Audit Office (NAO) has urged NHS England and NHS Improvement to set out by the autumn what actions they plan to take to reverse growing waiting times for elective procedures and cancer treatment.

While the number of people treated by the NHS each year is increasing, numbers of available beds have fallen, staff shortages have worsened, and the capacity of diagnostic services has not kept pace with rising demand, a report from the NAO says.1 Greater priority has also been given to emergency care and urgent cancer services at the expense of less urgent elective care.2

The elective care standard aims for 92% …

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