NHS bosses move to scrap waiting time targets that the Royal Surrey has missed since June

March 12, 2019 2:40 PM

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Guildford Liberal Democrats have warned of a "growing crisis" as NHS bosses have unveiled plans to replace the 4-hour A&E waiting time targets which the Royal Surrey NHS Trust has missed since last year.

The current target is for 95% of patients at A&E to be seen within 4 hours - but this may now be scrapped in favour of a target that will be easier to achieve.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital hasn't hit this target since June 2018 - right now only 83% of patients are seen within 4 hours at A&E.

The suggested target is only that patients coming in with heart attacks, acute asthma, sepsis and strokes are treated within an hour. The plans to change NHS targets come after the Prime Minister asked NHS England to review the system of targets last year.

The Royal Surrey is also ranked 124th out of 131 NHS Trusts in the country for urgent cancer treatment waiting times (only 70% of patients start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral) and 54th for planned operations waiting times2.

Both these targets could also be changed.

Zöe Franklin, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Guildford, warned:

"This is a stark reminder of the growing crisis in the NHS after years of underfunding and staff shortages.

"Although improving targets to make them more clinically useful would be welcome, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that these changes, instigated at the urge of the Prime Minister, are aimed mainly at replacing the targets with ones easier to achieve in order to save the government embarrassment.

"The NHS urgently needs more funding which is why the Lib Dems want an immediate 1p in the pound rise in income tax to provide an extra £6 billion of emergency cash for the NHS and social care each year.

"It's clear that, without immediate action, the crisis in our health service will only continue to worsen and it will be patients and their families who end up paying the price."