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HealthNHS bosses 'face sack for failing to cut waiting lists'

NHS bosses ‘face sack for failing to cut waiting lists’

Sajid Javid is understood to be preparing new powers to seize control of poor-performing hospitals

Sajid Javid is understood to be preparing new powers to seize control of poor-performing hospitals

Sajid Javid is understood to be preparing new powers to seize control of poor-performing hospitals

Hospital bosses who fail to clear record-long NHS waiting lists may face the sack under a shake-up to the health service, it was claimed today.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is preparing new powers to seize control of hospitals which aren’t performing well enough, according to The Times

Addressing a fringe event at the Tory conference last night, he said officials need to stop ‘throwing cash’ at the NHS — and called for ‘significant reforms that make that money go a lot further’. 

One in ten people in England are stuck on waiting list for operations, with the numbers expected to continue to rise in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

NHS data showed that 5.6million people across the country were waiting for elective surgery in July — the most since records began in 2007. 

Mr Javid today urged patients facing long waiting times because of the backlog of routine procedures — which spiked during the Covid pandemic — not to go private.

He insisted the health service ‘can manage it’ but refused to say when he expects the lists to clear, on his hundredth day in the job. 

Meanwhile, Mr Javid admitted remote GP appointments on the health service are here to stay after the pandemic.  

The number of patients waiting for routine hospital treatment hit 5.6million in July, the highest figure since records began in 2007

The number of patients waiting for routine hospital treatment hit 5.6million in July, the highest figure since records began in 2007

The number of patients waiting for routine hospital treatment hit 5.6million in July, the highest figure since records began in 2007

Boots to offer £15 ‘GP-style’ appointments to take pressure off the NHS this winter 

Boots has announced it will offer £15 face-to-face appointments this winter to help ease the burden on the NHS.

The high-street pharmacy is branching out to offer appointments with pharmacists for minor ailments.

Pharmacists are being trained to diagnose illnesses and write prescriptions amid a drop-off in in-person GP appointments offered on the NHS.

Boots chief executive Seb James told The Sun: ‘Rather than wait two weeks to see a GP, people can get immediate diagnosis, treatment and medication for the price of a Nando’s.’

The appointments will start at £15, which includes prescription costs.

Mr James said Boris Johnson called him at the start of the pandemic to see if Boots would help the NHS with testing.

He said: ‘I assured him we would not seek to make a profit out of Covid.

‘This policy enabled us to move quickly and help the nation. Hopefully, this new venture will continue that trend.’

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Mr Javid is under pressure from No10 to reduce waiting times after last month’s £36billion spending plan for health and social care.

He wants key NHS roles to go to business leaders and other outsiders with proven track records, to help deliver results. 

A senior Whitehall insider told The Times: ‘Patients need to see tangible results and waiting times coming down. 

‘The [Department of Health] cannot simply be a cheerleader for the NHS. 

‘It needs to rigorously hold it to account for the money it has been given.’ 

Mr Javid is understood to be frustrated with limits on minister’s powers to hold NHS leadership to account, with hospitals enjoying considerable local autonomy. 

Waiting lists spiralled after Covid forced hospitals to cancel routine operations and turn over wards to patients suffering from the disease. 

Social distancing and extra precautions made it harder to chip away at the record waiting lists.  

The waiting list includes people waiting for operations like knee, hip and joint replacements, as well as cataracts surgery. 

Record numbers of patients are now turning to private health rather than waiting for help from the NHS, figures show, with one private provider seeing patient numbers rise by 80 per cent on the back of the pandemic. 

But speaking to The Guardian, Mr Javid said he would not encourage patients to go private.

He said: ‘No. That’s always a choice for people that can afford it, and that’s up to them. But it’s not certainly something I would be recommending to anyone.

‘I don’t want a situation where too many more people just stop [using the health service] … because I want them to use the NHS. The NHS can manage it.’

Shadow Health Minister Jonathan Ashworth last week warned the climbing waiting lists could result in the Government privatising more of the NHS. 

And the chief executive of Spire Healthcare — which runs 39 private hospitals across Britain — Justin Ash said demand for their services had rocketed by 80 per cent.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last month: ‘An increasing number of people are choosing to pay for their care.

‘In particular, they’re finding it difficult to get through to hard-pressed GPs.’

Mr Ash added that the NHS should use private hospitals to help clear its backlog, saying it would be ‘good for getting the waiting list down if companies like us were used more’.

Patients forced to wait more than 18 weeks for routine surgery – the maximum time someone should wait under the NHS’s own rules – reached 1.7million in July, the highest level in four months

Some 293,000 people had been waiting more than a year for treatment on the NHS by July this year, figures showed. This was down slightly on last month when there were 304,803 people on the list, but still almost three times the same levels last year

Some 293,000 people had been waiting more than a year for treatment on the NHS by July this year, figures showed. This was down slightly on last month when there were 304,803 people on the list, but still almost three times the same levels last year

Some 293,000 people had been waiting more than a year for treatment on the NHS by July this year, figures showed. This was down slightly on last month when there were 304,803 people on the list, but still almost three times the same levels last year

Is Sajid Javid about to backtrack on GP appointments? Health Secretary says he has ‘no problem’ with online check-ups if people want them

Sajid Javid last night admitted remote GP appointments are here to stay after the pandemic.

The Health Secretary told a fringe event at the Tory conference that if phone or online appointments were what people wanted, then he had ‘no problem’ with that.

And he said there was a ‘role’ for remote consultations because many people like them.

Last night a source close to Mr Javid insisted he was still in favour of people having the right to choose face-to-face GP appointments.

Only last month, when the Daily Mail launched its campaign for GPs to get back to more ‘in person’ consultations, the Health Secretary said: ‘I am committed to ensuring everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can choose to see their GP face-to-face.’

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It comes as Boots announced is branching out to offer face-to-face appointments with pharmacists for minor ailments to reduce the pressure on the health service.

Pharmacists are being trained to diagnose illnesses and write prescriptions amid a drop-off in in-person GP appointments offered on the NHS.

Boots chief executive Seb James told The Sun: ‘Rather than wait two weeks to see a GP, people can get immediate diagnosis, treatment and medication for the price of a Nando’s.’

The appointments will start at £15, which includes prescription costs.

Mr Javid on Sunday said there was a ‘role’ for remote consultations because many people like them.

A source close to Mr Javid insisted he was still in favour of people having the right to choose face-to-face GP appointments. 

But Dennis Reed, director of campaign group Silver Voices, said he hoped Mr Javid was not ‘backtracking’.

Before the Covid crisis, around 80 per cent of GP appointments were face to face. That slumped during the pandemic and even now has only recovered to 58 per cent.

The Mail is campaigning for a return to the level of in-person appointments as before the pandemic.

At the fringe event, Mr Javid was questioned by a delegate who said the ‘most obvious way to raise productivity in the health service system is to move from in-person meetings with your GP’ to phone or online consultations.

He asked: ‘Do you intend to have more of that in the future?’

The Health Secretary replied: ‘There’s a role for remote consultations when it comes to healthcare.

‘I’m not just talking about it in primary care, with GPs. There was a lot more during the pandemic, more remote consultations throughout the NHS, and I suspect — in fact I know that from speaking to clinicians — that a lot of that will continue.

‘It continues because — I don’t think this is surprising at all — that you find a lot of people that actually prefer it.’

Source: Daily Mail | Health News

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