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NHS: Standards

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce waiting times (a) for NHS operations and (b) between admission and treatment at A&E throughout London.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

There is significant work underway to improve waiting times both throughout London and nationally.

Locally, at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and wider South East London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for example, there are several plans in place to improve accident and emergency (A&E) and elective care waiting times.

In relation to A&E, a new clinical facility at Queen Elizabeth Hospital has increased bed capacity by 44 beds; the SAFER and Red2Green programme is working to improve discharges processes so that more patients are not only discharged on time but are also admitted more quickly; and there has been an increase in the number of clinical staff in the Urgent Care Centre to meet the unexpected increase in number of patients from the beginning of March.

For elective care, a theatre productivity programme is in place to increase the number of patients who undergo an operation at the Trust during 2019/20, and an outpatient transformation programme is increasing the efficiency of the outpatients’ department, reducing the waiting times for patients who require an outpatients’ appointment. For cancer, the Trust is working with the south-east London cancer network to improve cancer pathways so that waiting times are reduced. The Trust has also secured additional endoscopy capacity to ensure additional patients can undergo diagnosis tests at weekends.

Reducing elective care waiting times continues to be a high priority for the NHS. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the NHS priorities going forward and reiterates the focus to increase the amount of planned surgery year-on-year, to cut long waits, and reduce the size of hospital waiting lists.

The Clinical Standards Review is all part of delivering the clear commitments set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to improve urgent and emergency care performance and reduce provider waiting lists over the next five years, as well as delivering the new ambitions set out, all within the final long-term funding settlement. The clinically-led review of standards is considering the appropriateness of operational standards for physical and mental health relating to planned, unplanned urgent or emergency care, as well as cancer.

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