Monday, December 01, 2008

18 weeks from GP referral to treatment is acceptable ?

In the article about the nurse pulling down that huge salary I found this little gem.

Ministers have promised patients they will not have to wait more than 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment by the end of this month (December).

I have to say I new the health care system in the UK and Canada that patients often seek out services in the US to avoid waiting but I had no idea it was that bad. So after a little Google Fu I found more information.

What appeared to be the official website promoting this program:

End waiting, change lives

When you see End waiting, change lives stamped on leaflets, brochures and websites you will be reading about 18 weeks, the programme to redesign services and clinical pathways so that none of us have to wait more than 18 weeks between referral and treatment for non-urgent conditions. (Patients with urgent conditions, such as cancer and heart disease, will be seen and receive treatment more quickly).

A world-class health service

By December 2008, for those who want it and for whom it is clinically appropriate, the longest patients will wait from referral to treatment for non-urgent treatment and care will be 18 weeks – less in many cases. This means a real improvement to the patient’s experience of the NHS and it means all patients will have faster access to the best possible NHS care.

The public said that 18 weeks was the acceptable maximum wait from referral to treatment

Access to services at the time and place that people want remains a key concern for the public. When asked, the public said that 18 weeks was the acceptable maximum wait from referral to treatment.

That is world class health care? Sorry that wounds more like 3rd world health care. Seriously the public said 18 weeks was acceptable? How bad was it before.

More Google Fu.

James Gubb, of Civitas, said this was completely unrealistic. Labour had tried to deal with massive waiting lists by imposing targets on all levels of the service - including a 48-hour maximum wait for a GP appointment by 2004, and a four-hour maximum wait in A&E.

By April 2006, 203,114 people were waiting longer than 13 weeks for a proper diagnosis, of whom 96,416 were waiting longer than 26 weeks.

The figure included 12,648 waiting for longer than 13 weeks for MRI scans and 2,488 for CT scans.

Since then improvements have been made, and virtually no one is waiting longer than 13 weeks for a CT scan and just 169 were waiting longer than this for an MRI scan. But in October 2007, there were still 30,832 patients waiting longer than 26 weeks for diagnostics, of which 16,551 were waiting over a year.

The Government committed itself to reducing the time between seeing the GP and going into hospital to 18 weeks by the end of 2008. There is an interim target of 85 per cent to be achieved by the end of March 2008, but Civitas claims it is "sure to be missed".


The Democrats use this as a prime example of how to IMPROVE American health care? There is no way the patients I see daily now would stand for that kind of wait times.

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