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Eleven NHS hospitals across England have been selected to begin recruiting 75,000 patients to have their genetic codes sequenced.
As part of the 100,000 Genomes Project, the 'Genomic Medicine Centres' (GMCs) will focus on patients with a rare disease and their relatives, and patients with cancer. The hospitals are:
- East of England NHS GMC
- South London NHS GMC
- North West Coast NHS GMC
- Greater Manchester NHS GMC
- University College London Partners NHS GMC
- North East and North Cumbria NHS GMC (will recruit patients with a rare disease only)
- Oxford NHS GMC
- South West Peninsula NHS GMC
- Wessex NHS GMC
- Imperial College Health Partners NHS GMC
- West Midlands NHS GMC
The Chair of the College of Paramedics has said the idea of delaying ambulances and increasing patient wait times by a few minutes has "some merit" if it means patients get better treatment overall.
Andrew Newton told ITV News that the proposals that were leaked today could be beneficial "if it means that the triage process can actually find out what is wrong with the patient."
ITV News Reporter Lewis Vaughan Jones reports on the leaked proposals to lengthen ambulance waiting times:
The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (Aace) has said proposals to raise ambulance waiting times by as much as 11 minutes for non-critical patients would still ensure the safety of patients.
A statement released by the Aace said: "We firmly believe that our proposals are safe and deliver benefits both for patients and for staff who have been concerned for some time that we continue to try and reach many patients in eight minutes when it is not clinically required."
A leaked NHS document revealed today that target times for ambulances to reach patients who were "serious but not the most life-threatening" could double from eight to 19 minutes after May's general election but the Aace stated tonight that there were "only proposals".
Explaining that more cases would be bumped up to the "most serious category" if proposals for lengthening wait times for the "serious but not the most life-threatening" category went through, the Aacce added: "They will not be formally approved until NHS England and the Secretary of State are convinced, as we are, that they are clinically safe and that they offer better care for our patients."
The trade union that represents ambulance staff has dismissed proposals to increase target times for ambulance.
Tony Hughes, the GMB regional officer for the ambulance service in London and East of England, said:
These proposals are ridiculous. They will only serve to bring worse outcomes for patients. The proposals are clearly motivated to the run-up to the general election so that the Tories can show that the ambulance services are meeting their targets which is so far from the truth.
NHS England has insisted no decisions have yet been taken on raising target times for ambulances for patients whose condition is not life-threatening.
The service's Head of Acute Care, Professor Keith Willett, said any decision on the proposals would not be taken until 2015.
Any operational changes to ensure ambulances reach sickest patients even quicker would need to be proposed by the senior doctors running ambulance services and agreed by the NHS nationally. No such decisions have been taken on their proposals, nor will they be - one way or the other - until next year.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham says Jeremy Hunt has "very serious questions" to answer about proposals to raise ambulance waiting times.
He has written to Health Secretary accusing him of having "deliberately kept Parliament in the dark" over the plans.
However, Mr Hunt has insisted there are no plans to implement the changes, which would see target times for non-critical cases raises from eight minutes to 19.
Mr Burnham said:
It is outrageous that he decided to keep MPs and the public in the dark about a decision he had already taken and one which will have far-reaching implications across the NHS.
Patients are already waiting hours on end for ambulances to arrive. People will struggle to understand how, in the middle of a crisis, it makes sense for the Government to make a panic decision to relax 999 standards and leave patients waiting even longer.
This leak leaves Jeremy Hunt with extremely serious questions to answer. He must do so today. The NHS is in a dangerous position and crying out for leadership. Jeremy Hunt must start providing it or make way for someone else who will.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has emphatically rejected reports that the NHS is planning to double ambulance target times for patients with non life-threatening injuries.
Categorically refute scaremongering MoS headline - no plans to double ambulance waiting times, and there never have been.
The target times for ambulances to reach some patients could double from eight to 19 minutes, according to reports.
A leaked NHS document suggests the change for patients in the 'Red 2' category, meaning their condition is "serious but not the most life-threatening".
The Mail on Sunday reports that the proposals have been agreed by NHS England bosses "in principle", but that changes would only happen after May's general election.