The King's Fund responds to the Public Accounts Committee’s report on NHS waiting times

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Responding to the Public Accounts Committee’s report on NHS waiting times for elective and cancer treatment, Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund said:

‘Thanks to the efforts of staff, the NHS is treating more people than ever before, but after a decade-long spending squeeze and now a full-blown staffing crisis, it is little wonder that waiting lists for planned NHS care have soared in recent years.

‘We must not lose sight of the fact that NHS "waiting lists" are made up of people; over 4 million people who may be living in pain, who will be seeking help from other services such as GPs or pharmacists. As the Committee has highlighted, we need a clearer focus and understanding of the impact long waits have on patient health and wellbeing, and more concrete proposals on how waiting times can be improved.

‘The NHS is currently reviewing its waiting times targets. But changing waiting time targets alone will not solve the underlying pressures that have led us to this point. Without an effective workforce strategy and increased investment in diagnostics equipment, staff training and social care, the NHS will have little hope of meeting current or new performance targets.’

Notes to editors

For more information or to request an interview please contact: Gemma Umali, Press and Public Affairs Manager, The King's Fund: 0207 307 2583, g.umali@kingsfund.org.uk

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.