NHS four-hour A&E target could be ditched after trials

This article was taken from: https://news.sky.com/story/plans-to-ditch-nhs-four-hour-ae-target-11662093

By Paul Kelso, health correspondent

Special changes will impact mental health patients, those seeking a cancer diagnosis and heart attack sufferers.

The four-hour A&E waiting time target – used as a measure of hospital performance – could be abandoned in favour of a series of new standards under proposals that will be trialled later this year.

The plans from NHS England would see new waiting time targets set for the initial assessment of patients, “rapid” treatment of the most seriously ill including those with mental health conditions, and an average time for all patients replacing the four-hour standard.

The pilot schemes aim for mental health patients attending A&E in crisis to receive emergency treatment within an hour.

NHS England stresses the measures are still proposals and implementation will be subject to the outcome of the trials.

The trial will also set a new target for treating patients with the most critical conditions, including heart attack, stroke, sepsis and severe asthma attacks. These cases should also be expected to be treated within one hour.

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