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Therese Coffey could abolish four hour A&E wait targets under ‘emergency’ NHS plan

Therese Coffey is considering abolishing four-hour A&E waiting time targets as part of her “emergency plan” to tackle the NHS.

The new health secretary is understood to be looking at a range of measures to address the growing crisis in the NHS, understood to be announced next Thursday.

But a source close to the discussions told The Independent getting rid of the four-hour waits – first suggested in March 2019 – would have to be given the green light by the new prime minister Liz Truss.

The announcement will focus on the health secretary’s “ABCD” priorities – standing for “ambulances, backlog, care, dentists and doctors” – with improvements to mental health services as an addition.

Policies also being looked at include more call handers for ambulances, more diagnostic community centres, speeding up the hospital building programme, reducing “bureaucratic” burdens on GPs, improving direct access to counselling services for patients and “robust” management of the national dentists’ contract.

There is concern among those involved that the move would see the four-hour wait replaced by a new target, which could be as difficult as the current target to achieve.

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Source: The Independent, 18 September 2022


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