latest health care news


Fourteen hospitals chosen to pilot new A&E targets

Fourteen hospitals have been chosen to pilot the new “rapid care measures” brought in by the NHS under plans to scrap the flagship four-hour A&E target.

The pilots come as A&E waiting times hit a record low for the second month in a row, with Lord Prior calling the current target system “damaging” and “dysfunctional.” The move has faced criticism from some who claim targets are being scrapped because the NHS can no longer meet them.

The trials will start next month, with the cohort of hospitals representing a “range of geographies and performance against the current A&E standard.”

The new measures will see the sickest cases prioritised instead of attempting to see all patients within four hours, with patients thought to be suffering from heart attacks, acute asthma, sepsis and stroke to have their care started within an hour.

But the “disappointing” new plans have been criticised by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine which warned that having no official deadline for treatment could lead to “crowding and delays in assessments, antibiotics and pain relief” for millions of patients.

The four-hour target, which expects 95% of patients to be seen within the four hours, has not been met since July 2015, with last month’s 84.2% representing the NHS’s “toughest month to date.”

NHS England said that the current target system was distorting priorities and led to a large number of patients being treated minutes before the four-hour mark, “stopping the clock.”

The hospitals that have been chosen for the new rapid care measures are:

  • Cambridge University Hospitals - Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  • Frimley Health - Imperial College Healthcare
  • Kettering General Hospital
  • Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
  • Mid Yorkshire Hospitals
  • North Tees and Hartlepool
  • Nottingham University Hospitals
  • Plymouth Hospitals
  • Poole Hospital
  • Portsmouth Hospitals
  • Rotherham
  • West Suffolk.

These trusts will trial the four new standards set out in the NHS’s review of clinical standards last month, which includes identifying life-threatening conditions faster, reducing emergency time for critically ill patients, and the main waiting time for all patients.

Other changes set out in the review include new targets for cancer care and planned operations such as hip replacements, but these are not included in the pilot.

NHS England said: “The information we gather through field testing and engagement will inform final recommendations ahead of full implementation beginning spring 2020.”


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

The introduction of state indemnity and the continued importance of MDO membership

22/05/2019The introduction of state indemnity and the continued importance of MDO membership

Dr Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services at the Medical Defence Union (MDU), explains why medical defence organisation (MDO) membership remains important following the int... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >