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NHS care backlog push at serious risk - National Audit Office

The plan to tackle long waits in hospital treatment and cancer care in England by 2025 is at serious risk, the spending watchdog says.

The National Audit Office report warned inflation and other pressures on the NHS could undermine the push. These included a lack of staff and hospital beds, which was affecting productivity, the watchdog said.

But NHS bosses said they could overcome the challenges and the health service was on track to hit its targets.

NHS England and the government have set a series of targets over the next three years.

They include:

  • returning performance on the 62-day target for cancer treatment to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023
  • ending waits of over a year and a half for planned treatment, such as knee and hip operations, by April 2023
  • ending waits of over a year for planned treatment by March 2025

The NAO report comes as the chancellor prepares to set out his tax and spending plans in his Autumn Statement on Thursday. Cuts to public spending are likely but Health Secretary Steve Barclay has strongly hinted the NHS will receive more money.

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Source: BBC News, 17 November 2022


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