Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

NHS waiting times: Which of the 15 promises have been broken under the Coalition?

Over the weekend Labour’s shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, claimed that the Coalition has breached the rights of British patients under the NHS constitution. Many people will be surprised to hear they even have these rights. Since when? What force do they have? And, as the Service posts the worst A&E waiting time figures in a decade, what actually are they? Well, the situation is not as straightforward as it seems. The NHS constitution, written in 2009, has no legal force in itself – it just describes the rights which the NHS is already bound to uphold by British and European law, including the right to access care for free and the right to have your complaints properly investigated.

One of these patient rights is to be treated in a timely fashion, as defined by the Department of Health in the NHS handbook, available to the public and all members of staff in the NHS.  This DoH defintion has three elements. The first is the time it takes to get a non-urgent appointment with a specialist (target 18 weeks). The second is the length of time it takes to see a cancer specialist after an urgent referral from your GP (target two weeks). The third element is a raft of 13 non-binding “pledges” which the NHS aims to fulfil in a certain percentage of cases.

Together, the two basic rights and 13 “pledges” form a list of 15 promises that define what people should expect from “their NHS”, and provide a crucial measure of whether the government is fulfilling its own stated goals.

With that in mind, how many of them –according to NHS England data – are actually being upheld under the Coalition?

Click on the link to read   tic 1  Redcross

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt defends A&E waiting times – video. The Guardian.  Click on the link




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