NHS: Health Secretary Wes Streeting orders review of NHS performance

NHS: Health Secretary Wes Streeting orders review of NHS performance

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  • Writer, Nick Triggle
  • Role, Health reporter
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The new Health Secretary has ordered an independent inquiry into the performance of the NHS in England.

Wes Streeting said he wanted the investigation to reveal “hard facts” about what he called a broken service.

The latest NHS waiting time figures show delays to hospital care have risen again, reaching 7.6 million.

The waiting list increased for the second month in a row, but is still below the peak of 7.77 million recorded in September.

Writing in the Sun newspaper, Mr Streeting said the inquiry, led by NHS surgeon general and independent peer Lord Ara Darzi, would help shape his 10-year plan for the NHS.

Mr Streeting said the NHS could be fixed but it was important to diagnose the problem first.

“It is clear to anyone who works in or uses the NHS that the NHS is broken.

“Patients are waiting more than a year for an operation. They can’t even walk through the front door for a GP appointment. And when they call an ambulance, they don’t know if or when an ambulance will arrive.”

Trump said he had heard from people across the country who were frustrated during his campaign, including an 88-year-old woman who fell out of bed and waited three hours for an ambulance, and an RAF veteran who had been waiting 15 months for surgery.

“These are not isolated cases. This is what is happening to patients up and down the country. The NHS is devastated,” Mr Streeting said.

“We can fix the NHS. But we need to diagnose the problem before we can prescribe it.”

Progress ‘stagnated’

In England, key waiting time targets for A&E, hospital waiting times or cancer care have not been met for more than eight years.

In addition to workload, waiting times in the Emergency Department and cancer care are also far behind targets.

In June, a quarter of patients waited more than four hours in the Emergency Department, while a third of cancer patients did not start treatment within 62 days of referral.

The publication of the figures comes after think tank the Nuffield Trust warned that progress in reducing waiting times in the NHS had “stagnated” as long waits in the NHS remained an “epidemic”.

The Health Secretary has asked Lord Darzi, who served as an adviser and minister in the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, to report by September.

NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard welcomed the investigation.

“Staff on the frontline of the NHS are doing an incredible job despite huge pressures, but we know they face huge challenges and patients do not always get the timely, high-quality care they need.

“Working closely with the government, independent experts and NHS staff, we will examine in detail the scale of the challenges and set out plans to address them. This comprehensive analysis will be an important step in helping us build an NHS fit for the future.”

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