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NHS failing to prioritise those in most need, says departing ICB chief

The NHS should better track patients with the greatest clinical need so they can move to the front of the queue for treatment, a former government waiting list tsar has said.

Anthony “Mac” McKeever told HSJ the health service could improve how it works through its elective backlog by using a system introduced during the covid pandemic to prioritise the most pressing cases.

He said a “large chunk” of cases were still not given a code to say how long they are considered to be able to wait for surgery, which is at the heart of this process.

Mr McKeever retired as Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board  chief executive this month following nearly five decades in the health service, including as a trust leader. 

Although Mr McKeever said he only knew the regional situation for the East of England, he would be “very surprised” if the national picture was any different. Waiting list expert Rob Findlay agreed this was a reasonable assumption.

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Source: HSJ, 17 November 2023


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