Recommendations for new NHSE care targets

Tuesday 12 March 2019

The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) has responded to NHS England's interim report looking to update NHS performance targets.

The Clinically-led Review of NHS Access Standards, produced by NHS National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis, suggests a new one-hour target for the urgent treatment of patients presenting with serious mental health and life-threatening conditions, as well as consolidating existing cancer targets and reformed measures for elective care.

RCR President Dr Nicola Strickland said:

"We welcome Prof Powis’ interim report on NHS access standards and its focus on improving patient care across England through rapid diagnosis and appropriate, prioritised treatment.

"Proposals to overhaul the blanket four hour A&E wait and formalise prioritisation make sense in theory, to ensure critical patients are addressed urgently, when time is of the essence. Meanwhile, the new national standard for receiving or ruling out a cancer diagnosis within 28 days, first announced in the NHS Long Term Plan, should reduce anxiety for patients waiting for test results.

"NHS targets should help hospitals improve their systems for the ultimate benefit of patients, but it must be recognised that new measurements alone will not erase the fundamental need for more NHS staff and resources.

"This is particularly the case in diagnostic radiology and clinical oncology – two specialist areas that are pivotal in delivering enhanced NHS standards, but that remain perennially understaffed and under-resourced.      

"The RCR supports NHSE's clear plans robustly to test and assess the various new and amalgamated standards, and to work closely with clinicians and patients as the review process evolves. We will be interested to see the impact of the targets in practice, and look forward to working actively with NHSE, along with fellow stakeholders, on the forthcoming consultation in order to ensure new care targets will benefit our patients."