Health Services: Contracts

Department of Health written question – answered on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether the current NHS Standard Contract prohibits commissioners from setting minimum waiting times; what changes have been made to the rules for commissioners in this respect during the past five years; and how those changes were reported to Parliament.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

There is no specific statement in the current NHS Standard Contract which prohibits the use of minimum waiting times by commissioners. The NHS Standard Contract has been reviewed and published annually since 2013/14. No changes have been made to the NHS Standard Contract with respect to setting minimum waiting times during this time.

Clinical priority is the main determinant of when patients should be treated followed by the chronological order of when they were added to the waiting list. Clinicians should make decisions about patients’ treatment and patients should not experience undue delay at any stage of their referral, diagnosis or treatment.

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