Waiting time target fears4th August 2011
New concerns have been raised over waiting time targets in England.
The alert comes from some foundation trusts, which have indicated they may fail to hit waiting time targets this year.
The annual plans from foundation trusts reveal that a sixth of them are concerned they will struggle to hit the targets for patients needing non-emergency treatment within the target time.
The data, via the regulator Monitor, also flags up similar concerns for A&E waiting times.
Monitor chairman Dr David Bennett said: “The challenge of reducing costs must be met, but it is essential that good patient care is at the heart of this.
“We are very clear with foundation trusts that savings cannot be made by compromising on quality.”
There are 96 foundation trusts in England. So far, 16 have declared a risk of non-compliance for the 18-week limit for elective care, such as knee and hip replacements, another 14 foundation trusts were worried about whether they would be able to keep to the four-hour A&E target while more than 20 trusts also claimed they may run into financial difficulties in the coming year.
Monitor has not disclosed the names of the trusts affected.
Trusts must see 90% of in-patients within 18 weeks with a 10% leeway permitted to reflect the fact that some patients may wait longer for valid personal or medical reasons.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “Foundation trusts must demonstrate that they are improving outcomes for patients and managing their finances effectively as well as ensuring that waiting times are kept low.”
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Title: Waiting time target fears
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 19336
Date Added: 4th Aug 2011