The NHS National Medical Director has published a clinical review of standards across the NHS, to determine if any older targets needed updating.
Professor Stephen Powis claims that patients should see four main benefits:
"The NHS will be rolling out short waits for a far wider range of important clinical services." Patients should benefit from newly established standards covering areas such as mental health and community health services that previously have been neglected.
"Greater emphasis will be given to standards that help improve clinical quality and outcomes." Eg, earlier diagnosis of cancer and faster assessment and treatment for major emergencies such as heart attacks, stroke and sepsis.
"We want to lock-in short waits for A&E and planned surgery." The current A&E and elective care targets will be changed. Eg, they do not distinguish between the hospital where 10% of patients wait five hours to complete their A&E treatment versus the hospital where 10% wait eleven hours.
"The new standards will help, rather than penalise, hospitals who modernise their care." Eg, if a GP is able to discuss a patient’s diagnosis directly with a hospital specialist, so that the patient doesn’t have to travel to a hospital outpatient appointment, that makes the hospital’s waiting time statistics look in the way the statistics are currently calculated.