Having suspended elective care during January and abandoned A&E waiting time targets this month, NHS England are already allowing basic NHS standards to be eroded, citing lack of funding and growing demand. At a more local level, CCGs have tried to pull tricks like denying care to smokers and obese patients. As the government has failed to invest sufficient funding to support the NHS, we are now seeing a further degradation of standards: minimum waiting times.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England has discovered that some CCGs are imposing a minimum time that patients must wait for elective surgery. Such a move leaves patients suffering pain and disability for longer, with no clinical basis for doing so. Minimum waits were previously banned but have been allowed to creep back in as the NHS struggles under the Tory government.
The National Health Action Party believe that standards should not be degraded in response to poor government funding. Minimum waiting times are unacceptable as they institutionalise poor care standards at a time when institutions should instead be speaking out about poor funding. We call on NHS England to once again ban minimum waiting times, and to not gradually cut standards in order to normalise the current situation of poor staffing and poor funding.
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The National Health Action (NHA) Party was founded in 2012 to oppose the growing marketisation of the NHS. The NHA Party stood against Jeremy Hunt in his SW Surrey constituency in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, taking 12,093 votes in the latter: a 7.8% swing to NHA.