Welcome to the Patients Association Weekly News
NHS waiting times targets - an update
The Patients Association has this week published an analysis of NHS England’s proposals to overhaul the A&E target alongside changes to waiting times for cancer, mental health and planned operations. The proposals, which were announced in March, would see the sickest people, including those coming in with heart attacks, acute asthma, sepsis or stroke, being prioritised for treatment, instead of the current guidelines which aim for all A&E patients to be seen or treated within four hours. The changes are to be piloted and, if successful, could be introduced in 2020.

Our Head of Policy, John Kell, discusses in this blog post whether NHS England’s proposals will drive improvements in patient care. The piece asks whether the proposed changes could inadvertantly result in jamming up A&E departments with less urgent cases, and whether they could end up generating problems for other hospital departments, rather than driving improvements. The post also explores the results from a survey of our members on NHS waiting times.

You can read the piece on our website here. If you have any questions or would like further information, email
Read more
Survey: Tell us about your experiences of unsafe, premature discharge
Have you completed our latest survey on unsafe discharge from hospital?

We want to hear about times when someone has been discharged from hospital despite not being well enough to leave. If the person suffered harm as a result of this, or was at a real risk of harm, it was an unsafe discharge.

Too little research has been done on discharges that simply happened too early, even though we hear about this from callers to our helpline. If you think your experience, or the experience of someone close to you, matches this description of an unsafe, premature discharge, please share your experiences with us in this short survey.  

We will be issuing a report, based on what people tell us.The survey should take around seven minutes to complete. Share your views here.
Complete the survey
Understanding fees for private treatment
The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), an organisation working to ensure greater transparency about private healthcare, has this week published a guide about the fees a person can expect to pay when they are self-funding treatment. The article and video contains information about the initial consultation, package prices and consultant fees, and will be useful to anyone considering opting for private healthcare over NHS treatment.

Private healthcare providers who are subscribed to the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS), an independent adjudicator for patients who have been treated in subscribing organisations, are reminded to make written information about any fees, contracts and terms and conditions available to patients prior to any treatment commencing. Providing this information to patients is a registration requirement specified by the Care Quality Commission.

You can find information on ISCAS here. More information on private healthcare can be found on our website here.
Find out more
Patient's Choice Awards - voting now open
Voting is now open to choose the winner of one of nursing’s most prestigious accolades: the Patient’s Choice category of the RCNi Nurse Awards. The award, which is supported by the Patients Association, enables members of the public to thank a nurse, midwife, health visitor, healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner who has provided exceptional care. Voting is open to everyone.

Five inspirational nurses have been chosen as finalists this year from scores of nominations by patients. Those who nominated the finalists include a young woman diagnosed with cancer while at university and a teenager whose mental health worker has supported her towards recovery.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
“It was incredibly heart-warming to read patients’ accounts describing how nurses have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and it was challenging to shortlist just five nurses for these prestigious awards. The commitment, care and dedication of these nurses to their patients is without question – it’s now up to the public to make the difficult choice and decide who should be the winner.”

Voting closes at midnight on 14 June, and the winner will be announced at the RCNi Nurse Awards ceremony in London on 3 July.
Vote now
Nominate the Patients Association for a national award
The insurer Ecclesiastical launched its Movement for Good awards recently, encouraging members of the public to nominate a cause close to their hearts for a potential £1,000 award.

500 charities will each receive the £1,000 award, and the Patients Association is in the running for this prize. The money could help us support dozens of people contacting our helpline in need of impartial advice and information, and could support us in our work for patients across the country.

Winners will be drawn at random but the more times a charity is nominated, the more chance it has of being selected – so please do take a moment to complete the short form here. It’s quick and easy to nominate us: you just need our charity number, which is 1006733.

You can nominate us until the close of the process on Friday 17 May.
Nominate us here
Share your health and social care experiences 
Have you found recent consultations with your doctor helpful? Whether your experience has been positive or one that could have been better, we’d like to hear more and see what we can do to help. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), who we work closely with, are looking for case studies of patients' experiences of using GP services.

Our partnership with the CQC means when you call our helpline or email us, it makes a real difference. To get in touch with our helpline team and share your thoughts of using GP services, call 020 8423 8999, email or visit our website.
Contact our helpline
What our team is reading this week
GP pressure: Numbers show first sustained drop for 50 years
NHS nursing crisis worsened by Brexit exodus
Bereaved father leads NHS movement against suicide
One in five harmed by others drinking alcohol over past year, survey finds
Pharmacists sent into care homes amid fears pensioners are being put at risk by drugs cocktail

About us

Our vision is that health and social care will be delivered in a way that meets every person’s health and social care needs.

Our mission is to give effect to the patient voice, to improve patient experience and support people to engage fully in their own care. Find out more about our values on our website

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The Patients Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (1006733).  A company limited by guarantee.  Registered company in England and Wales (02620761)
Registered address:  P Block, Northwick Park Hospital, The North West Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3YJ