National Audit Office’s (NAO) report on managing NHS backlogs and waiting times in England - The King's Fund responds
Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund commented on the National Audit Office’s (NAO) report on managing NHS backlogs and waiting times in England
‘This NAO report should ring alarm bells in government. NHS funding is not keeping pace with inflation, plus staffing shortages and Covid-19 cases in the wider health and social care system are still endemic, all of which put government targets to reduce hospital waiting lists in jeopardy.
‘The report is also a timely reminder that the government’s ambition to return waiting lists to pre-pandemic levels would still not mean a return to the standard of service patients and the public rightly expect. Even before Covid-19 hit, key national waiting time targets had not been met for many years, showing just how deep rooted these funding and staffing challenges are.
‘The government’s actions need to match its rhetoric – if it’s serious about reducing waiting lists and improving care for patients then the Autumn Statement should be a story of investment. If, instead, ministers choose to squeeze health and care budgets, they must be prepared to explain to patients and the public why services are going to deteriorate, with longer waits and poorer health outcomes as a result.’
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