NHS Figures Show Worst Reported Hospital Waiting Times

15 Nov 2019

NHS England reported their worst ever figures for hospital waiting times this month. These included statistics showing that there were 4.42 million people waiting for hospital treatment at the end of September 2019 (the highest ever) and that 15.2% of them had been waiting for over 18 weeks (well in excess of the NHS target of 8%).

In 2012 NHS England introduced something called the “18 week rule”. The rule essentially means that the maximum wait for non urgent treatment under the NHS is 18 weeks from the date of referral. There are some exceptions (for example if it is in the patient’s best clinical interests to wait longer than 18 weeks) and for some treatment the maximum waiting time is shorter (in cancer cases, for example, a patient should be seen within 2 weeks for an appointment regarding suspected cancer).

The figures also showed that only 83.6% of patients were seen in Accident & Emergency Departments within the appropriate 4 hour target. This is significantly down on the NHS target of 95%.

James Braund, Senior Associate in the Personal Injury Team at Trethowans’ Poole office, who specialises in clinical negligence claims comments “it is very worrying to see such a significant proportion of patients not being treated appropriately within the NHS guidelines. In some cases (hopefully) the delay in treatment may not make much of a different, but in some cases a patient’s outcome could be significantly affected by such delays. At Trethowans, unfortunately, we see far too many cases where patients have not received treatment as quickly as they should have done, often with a far worse outcome as a result. The NHS does a great job with what it has, but is clearly overstretched and under resourced – as a result, sadly, mistakes like this do happen.”

The team at Trethowans LLP specialise in clinical negligence claims such as delays in diagnosis and/or treatment. If you believe that you have suffered an unreasonable delay and that this has led to further issues you can contact the team on 0800 2800 421 to discuss matters further in a free initial consultation.