NHS Confederation responds to Labour Party analysis of waiting time targets

Rory Deighton said improving waiting times would be a marathon not a sprint.

8 May 2024

Responding to a Labour Party analysis which found that most trusts have missed waiting times targets every single month since the last election Rory Deighton, director of the NHS Confederation's Acute Network, said:

“NHS leaders and their teams work incredibly hard to provide safe and timely care to patients 24 hours a day all year round. But there is little doubt that the service is under immense pressure amid rising demand, ongoing industrial action, and the ongoing financial crises in social care. 

“This new analysis is yet more evidence of the impact of a decade of underinvestment in capital, estate, workforce and social care, with patients facing long waits throughout the health and care system. While NHS staff are doing everything they can to treat patients and keep them safe people are too often waiting far too long. 

“Our members know that there is no simple solution to these challenges and improving performance is going to be a marathon not a sprint. That is why we welcome the ambition of NHS England’s urgent and emergency care recovery plan to get A&E performance up to 78% and improve ambulance category two response times to 30 minutes this year. We also know hospitals have worked incredibly hard to treat the patients who have been waiting the longest and expect tackling waiting lists to continue to be a priority for NHS leaders and their teams going forward.

“That is why we are calling on the next government to commit to a short-term stabilisation plan during its first 12 months to help get performance back on track. Our members would also like to see capital funding boosted by an extra £6.4 billion a year so they can start to address the repairs backlog and invest in new technology and equipment.”