Proposed new standards must be clinically led and backed by trusts
11 March 2019
- NHS England has announced that people who arrive at A&E experiencing a mental health crisis will receive emergency care within one hour under pilot schemes.
- The standard is among a raft of clinical proposals that aim to deliver rapid assessment and treatment for patients with the most serious conditions.
- People with suspected cancer will receive a diagnosis within 28 days of urgent referral by their GP.
- Other new standards to be trialled include a rapid assessment measure for all patients arriving at A&E, coupled with faster life-saving treatment for those with the most critical conditions.
- A new measure of time spent by patients in emergency departments will also be tested.
Responding to the announcement of plans to trial new NHS clinical standards, including new standards for mental health and cancer care, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:
"The key NHS targets have played a valuable role in improving access to care.
"They have become a widely recognised indicator of NHS performance.
"But clinical practice moves on so it is right to consider whether they remain relevant and reflect best practice.
In order to win public confidence, it will be vital to ensure this process is clinically led and that any changes have been carefully tested and evaluated.Deputy Chief Executive
"In order to win public confidence, it will be vital to ensure this process is clinically led and that any changes have been carefully tested and evaluated.
"Any roll out will need to be incremental and must have the full backing of the clinical community and leadership of NHS trusts.
Any roll out will need to be incremental and must have the full backing of the clinical community and leadership of NHS trusts.Deputy Chief Executive
"This is particularly important in view of the fact that performance against the current standards has slipped.
"We must guard against any sense of 'moving the goalposts' to bring the standards back within reach.
"Ultimately, the decision to change the constitutional standards will lie with politicians.
"But it must be informed by clear and compelling evidence on best clinical practice – and driven by what is in the best interests of patients and service users."