What does Jeremy Hunt do when he keeps missing the goal? He moves the goal posts. In the face of an NHS, which due to his rampant mismanagement and Tory underfunding is underperforming across the board, Hunt has informed Trusts that they are now allowed to miss the targets set to ensure patients are treated within a reasonable time-frame. 

Specifically, Jeremy has told NHS Trusts that hospitals do not need to satisfy the requirements on them to treat 95% of A&E patients within four hours and 92% of people in need of non-urgent care within 18 weeks.

He released the information in the 2018/19 Government Mandate to NHS England. The Patients Association has warned that the abandonment of these targets will force patients to suffer in pain as they wait longer for treatment. It could even jeopardise patients’ overall recovery.

Indeed, the charity’s Chief Executive, Rachel Power said, 

“Patients will have to endure greater periods of pain and discomfort while they wait for surgery or battle to access care, and run greater risks of poor outcomes. In A&E departments some patients will be waiting longer for admission to a ward in corridors with loss of their dignity and privacy, and risks to their safety. The risks for patient safety and poorer outcomes is completely needless, and unacceptable in a wealthy nation”.

The move is yet another reductive step taken by a Tory administration well-versed in reductive steps. Instead of providing the NHS with the funding and management it requires to thrive, Hunt’s leadership adapts the NHS to its deliberately imposed deprivation. 

Jeremy Taylor, the Chief Executive of National Voices, said,

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“The government is easing pressure on health and care services by putting pressure on patients. Rather than meeting the funding needs of the NHS and social care, it is diminishing service standards. […] The losers will be the many more thousands of people waiting for treatment in pain, discomfort and frustration – and with their health put at risk by further delays”.

Targets represent a duty undertaken by the NHS, and by the Government with charge over the NHS. Flouting them or allowing them to be flouted is not only an admission of failure, but it is also tacit consent to the institution’s destruction. 

Hospitals have not managed to meet the four hour A&E waiting time targets since 2015, and in that time the amount of people on waiting lists for non-urgent care has risen by four million. Nonetheless, this latest news represents another deliberately callous move by the Tories towards their overall agenda of destroying Britain’s most-cherished institution. 

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