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NHS Confederation: Waiting times are 'creeping up'

The average waiting time for patients receiving treatment in hospital "is creeping up" but remains within their targets, the NHS Confederation's chief operating officer has told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Average waiting times are increasing a bit but they are not increasing by a huge amount and 90% of people are being seen in the target time.

If the average waiting time is creeping up, then it shows there is pressure on the system and we need to take a look at that and make sure that things are done to deal with that.

– Matt Tee, chief operating officer of the NHS Confederation

Hospitals not 'deliberately' hiding waiting time figures

The health secretary defended hospitals against mounting criticism they were deliberately under-reporting the amount of time patients were waiting for an operation.

Jeremy Hunt told Daybreak the National Audit Office talked about "inconsistencies" in figures, and were "very careful not to say that hospitals were deliberately misrepresenting" waiting times.

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NHS director: Waiting times issues 'must be addressed'

Bill McCarthy, NHS England's director of policy and strategy, said:

NHS England firmly believes it is essential to have accurate information provided in a timely way to ensure better care for patients.

The NAO rightly points out where there are problems with data and these must be addressed.

All parts of the NHS have their role to play in ensuring data is collected and recorded accurately including trusts, auditors regulators as well as those who oversee the commissioning of care including Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England.

'Under-recording of three weeks wait per patient'

The National Audit Office report reviewed 650 orthopaedic patient waiting times across seven hospital trusts.

"More than half of these were not supported by documented evidence or were incorrectly recorded," it said.

In 281 cases, waiting times had been correctly recorded and were supported by documented evidence.

But in 202 cases, waiting times were not supported by enough evidence to say whether they had been correctly recorded.

And in a further 167 cases, there was "evidence of at least one error, leading to under and over-recording of waiting time".

"There was an overall under-recording of three weeks (mean) per patient," it concluded.

Hospital waiting times 'mis-recorded', study finds

Some waiting time data was dismissed as unreliable. Credit: ITV News

Some hospitals are failing to accurately monitor how long thousands of their patients are waiting for treatment, a report has found.

Research by the National Audit Office (NAO) discovered trusts in England were often "mis-recording" data, with some saying either patients waited less time than they did for treatment, or longer.

NHS targets say 90% of admitted hospital patients should start their treatment within 18 weeks.

Of those patients who do not need admitting to hospital, 95% should be seen within 18 weeks of referral by their GP.

A fifth of maternity budget 'spent covering error claims'

A fifth of the UK's maternity services funding - £482 million - is spent on insurance against malpractice, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) suggests.

A fifth of maternity services funding is spent on insurance against malpractice, a report suggests. Credit: PA

The most common reasons for maternity claims are mistakes in the management of labour or Caesarean sections and errors resulting in cerebral palsy, the NAO report states.

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Small firms 'face credit shortfall' watchdog warns

Britain's struggling smaller-scale firms face a £22 billion shortfall in the amount of credit they can access by 2017, according to the National Audit Office.

Smaller-scale firms face a £22 billion shortfall in the amount of credit they can access by 2017, the spending watchdog has warned. Credit: PA

The spending watchdog warned that around four out of 10 emerging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have their applications for a bank loan rejected, despite a number of Government schemes to improve lending.

Labour: NHS 'on brink of a very dangerous winter'

Labour's shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has warned that the NHS could be "on the brink of a very dangerous winter" as A&E departments are increasingly overcrowded.

He was speaking as a new report by the National Audit Office finds that more people are being admitted to hospital through A&E departments than ever before, and that many of these admissions are avoidable.

Mr Burnham told Daybreak that older people are "drifting towards A&E in ever greater numbers" as care facilities in the community are taken away.

A&E services demand 'increasing as population ages'

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government knows "demand for A&E services is increasing as the population ages".

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Credit: Neil Hall/PA Wire

Mr Hunt said: "That's why we are tackling both the short and long-term problems: transforming out of hospital care by reversing the disastrous changes to the 2004 GP contract, joining up the health and social care system, and backing A&Es with £250 million to prepare for this winter.

"Winter is always tough, but the NHS has never been more prepared, and in the face of unprecedented demand A&E performance has never been stronger."

Increase in emergency admissions 'a growing concern'

NHS England said the increase in emergency hospital admissions is "a growing concern".

Professor Keith Willett, director for acute episodes of care for NHS England, said it "must be a concern for the whole health and care system, not just for hospitals".

NHS England said the increase in emergency hospital admissions is 'a growing concern'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

"It is clear the way we provide health and social care must change so our hospitals, GP and community services have the space to do that," he added.

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