Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1032/28794
The Socialist 6 March 2019 |
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A&E 4-hour waiting targets scrapped - Save our NHS!
Health workers marching on the demo for the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch (Click to enlarge)
NHS England is backing a plan to scrap four-hour A&E waiting time targets 'within a year'.
The current target is for 95% of patients to be seen at A&E within four hours.
Ditching this will mean that many patients with so-called 'less serious' illnesses could be forced to wait for well over four hours - which is already a long time!
The government has previously talked about the idea and doctors warned that getting rid of the target would have a "near-catastrophic impact" on patient safety.
A&E staff have also expressed concerns about triaging - deciding the order in which patients are treated.
But, as I have seen in wards I have worked in, the current targets are already insufficient. Emergency units have not hit the target since July 2015 for example.
In Wales - where the target will not be scrapped - Maelor Hospital in Wrexham in January posted the worst waiting time for an accident and emergency unit in Wales on record. Only 49% of patients where seen in under four hours.
Instead of scrapping A&E targets we need a big increase in staff to meet patient demand.
- Reverse all cuts and privatisation to guarantee the needed funds to meet targets and treat patients
- Urgently train more NHS staff to work in overstretched wards and hospitals
- Trade union action to ensure they are paid a real living wage
- Nationalise all the big companies leeching off the NHS, cancel the PFI 'debts'
- Run the NHS under democratic workers' control as a real public service