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Scrapped NHS targets could lead to a return to 'free for all'

Published on 24/06/2010
The government has announced plans to overhaul the NHS waiting time targets introduced by Labour.

Patients will no longer be guaranteed a GP appointment within 48 hours in the hope of increasing practitioners' flexibility and cutting bureaucracy.

In addition, the requirement for 98 per cent of patients attending Accident and Emergency wards to be seen within four hours has been relaxed to 95 per cent and the target for patients to be given a hospital appointment within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP will no longer be enforced.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "I want to free the NHS from bureaucracy and targets that have no clinical justification and move to an NHS which measures its performance on patient outcomes."

However, many believe the changes could lead to a return of long waiting times on the NHS.

The Patients Association warned that scrapping the targets without measures to replace them could lead to a return to a "free for all".

"The targets focused minds in the NHS, made people start realising services had to get better," said the organisation's director Katherine Murphy.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham recently called on the government to abandon promises to spare the NHS from spending cuts currently being made to reduce the Budget deficit.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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