Four-hour hospital A&E target ‘to be scrapped within year’
The four-hour A&E target in hospitals is reportedly set to be scrapped within a year.
NHS England is backing the plan, The Times reported, with sources telling the paper that chief executive Simon Stevens wants to introduce a change over the coming year.
The Government has previously said it plans to ditch the target for 95% of patients to be seen at A&E within four hours.
Instead, those with less serious illnesses could have to wait longer, while new targets may be brought in for conditions such as heart attacks and stroke.
NHS England said no final decision had yet been made and any changes would be tested before being implemented from October.
Doctors have previously warned that getting rid of the target would have a “near-catastrophic impact” on patient safety.
Emergency units have not hit the target since July 2015.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “The clinically-led review of standards was announced by the Prime Minister in June 2018, and since then I have been working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Healthwatch England and many others on what matters most to patients, on the clinical issues with the current target regime, and what NHS staff believe will help them provide the best quality care for patients.
“Any recommended changes will be carefully field tested across the NHS before they are implemented.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “As part of the ongoing Clinical Standards Review, the NHS is reviewing performance standards to ensure patients with the most serious illness and injury receive the best possible care in the shortest possible timeframe.
“The NHS is working closely with clinical experts and patient groups nationally and will set out proposals in due course.”