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IHPN responds to three year anniversary of NHS 18 week target last being hit

Date of publication: 11th Apr 2019

Categories: Latest news

In response to NHS England’s latest performance figures which mark three years since the NHS last met its target to treat 92% of elective patients within 18 weeks, David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said:

“Today’s figures mark three years since the NHS last met its constitutional target to treat 92% of elective patients within 18 weeks. This means more patients waiting in pain for vital treatment such as hip replacements and cataracts and represents a worrying decline in the access to NHS care that the public have a legal right to expect under the NHS constitution.

“While we welcome the recent NHS Long Term Plan commitments to increase the amount of planned surgery delivered year on year, including through making use of independent sector capacity, what we now need from NHS England is a clear delivery plan on how to get waiting times down. This must include utilising the spare capacity available in the independent sector and communicating much more effectively the legal rights that patients have to choose the best provider for them.

“We are also clear any potential reforms to the 18 week target must be fully tested and driven solely by the needs of patients, not by diluting the target to make it easier to hit.”

– Of patients on the waiting list at the end of February 2019, 87% had been waiting less than 18 weeks, thus not meeting the 92% standard.
– The number of patients waiting over the 18 week referral to treatment target has increased by almost one fifth in the last 12 months from 454 000 in February 2018 to 540 000 in February 2019
– The number of people waiting more than one year for elective surgery was 1,963 at the end of February 2018 – up from just 539 patients five years ago.
– The Government’s target to ensure 92 per cent of patients wait no longer than 18 weeks from referral to treatment for elective procedures, such as hip and knee operations, has not been met since February 2016.