Intended for healthcare professionals


Long NHS waiting times are harming patients, MPs warn

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 12 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4184
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

Patient suffering is being overlooked as NHS performance against waiting time targets for cancer care and non-urgent care continues to “spiral downwards,” a report by MPs has warned.1

The Public Accounts Committee said that national NHS bodies seemed to “lack curiosity” and to understand little about how longer waits can harm patients.

Published on 12 June, the committee’s report found that less than half of NHS trusts and foundation trusts currently met the 18 week waiting time standard for elective treatment, and only 38% met the 62 day standard from referral to treatment for cancer patients.

Doctors’ leaders and health analysts backed the committee’s concerns that worsening waiting times were “unacceptable” and said that control must be restored.

The committee chair, Meg Hillier, said, “The impact of protracted waiting …

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