Ministers have effectively ditched NHS England’s planned new bundle of A&E targets and want trusts to be firmly regulated on the existing four-hour standard and 12-hour breaches, HSJ understands.
Multiple senior figures familiar with the process, from inside the NHS and government, said the performance focus for the next two years will be on the two existing accident and emergency waiting time measures, as well as ambulance handover delays.
For the last three years, NHS England has been lobbying government to scrap the headline four-hour target, and replace it with a bundle of measures which have been trialled at around a dozen providers. This work has been led by medical director Steve Powis.
HSJ understands the decision to continue using the existing four-hour target was driven by concerns among ministers and senior NHS figures that the bundle of measures was too confusing, both for patients and as a means for government to hold the service to account.
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Source: HSJ, 23 November 2022