NHS ‘Must Make Waiting Times Fairer For All Patients’

New Report Reveals 'Inherently Wrong' Trends

29.07.2011

A medical law specialist at Irwin Mitchell has called for the NHS to work quickly to address concerns raised over waiting times, after a report suggested some healthcare providers are trying to save money by delaying operations.

The Co-operation and Competition Panel stated that the tactic is one used by some Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), as it is believed some patients may choose to go private to secure treatment while others may also die – thus reducing strain on waiting lists.

While there is currently a maximum waiting time threshold of 18 weeks, no regulations are currently in place in terms of a minimum wait. According to the report, PCTs are making use of minimum waits of up to 15 weeks.

Lisa Jordan, a medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham, specialises in helping those who have suffered as a result of substandard care or errors during treatment.

Commenting on the release of the new report, she said: “This report has raised some very serious issues, specifically that the safety and health of patients may be suffering as a result of the decision to make use of waiting times of up to 15 weeks.

“It seems inherently wrong that healthcare providers would essentially play with the welfare of people in such a manner.

“This issue clearly needs to be investigated and we would urge the NHS and government to collaborate and seriously consider how it can reassess the issue of waiting times to ensure that they are not only fairer, but also are designed to meet the best interests of patients.

“There is also an element of false economy with the suggestion that increasing waits could save money, particularly considering how delays may in some cases lead to further health problems for patients in the future.”