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How is your hospital doing?

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Overall in the UK, NHS targets for cancer care, A&E and operations are gradually getting worse – across England, Wales and Northern Ireland these key three targets have not been hit for the last 18 months.

The NHS tracker project allows UK residents to see how their local service is performing based on three key figures:

  • – Planned treatment and operations
  • – Accident & Emergency waits less than 4 hours
  • – Cancer care within 62 days

Nationally, Scotland has fared better than the other three nations but even so, due to the fact that it has hit its A&E target three times in the last 12 months, but it’s hardly a statistic worth shouting about.

Since 2015, Northern Ireland has gradually reduced their targets from 80% to a more ‘achievable’ 55%, yet it has still failed to hit the mark.

In the last year, there is just one regional service – Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust – that has managed to hit the three targets consistently.

Find out how your local NHS service compares with the NHS tracker

So why are hospitals failing to meet their targets?

The answer appears to be the same across most hospital trusts.  A lack of funding, a shortage of doctors and nurses and inadequate space and resources in A&E departments are putting most hospitals under pressure and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see patients on time.

Head of cancer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Prof Madhusudan, has suggested that there is simply not enough staff to cope with the amount of cases that they are seeing each year – the hospital has failed to meet its targets for the last three years.   At this hospital alone, there are 5000 new cancer cases presenting themselves each year and with 22 oncologists at the trust are under incredible pressure to deal with the high demand.

So what do these figures mean for patients?

Waiting times have gradually been rising, and with the pressures that the NHS is facing including a staffing crisis, and the shortage of beds, it doesn’t look like the situation will improve anytime soon.

Work is being done, and money is being spent to try and ease the pressure on the NHS but in the meantime the service that patients receive is being impacted.

When patients are seen, the NHS is keen to point out that the care they receive is still good or outstanding, however the number of patients having to wait for treatment has more than doubled over the last four years. Currently there are over half a million people on NHS waiting lists whereas four years ago this figure was just 230,000.  Whilst for many people this period of waiting is simply an inconvenience, for others it can have a huge impact on their treatment and the outcome.

Private medical insurance can help solve the problem and allow you to skip long waiting lists; however those without it have been forced into situations where they’ve spent their life savings on going private, worried that the long wait with the NHS is having a detrimental effect on their health.

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The above post is intended to be informative but does not constitute advice – financial, legal or otherwise. Any opinions given are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SO Media.

 

 

 

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