Welcome to the Patients Association Weekly News
NHS to trial new set of waiting times targets
NHS England has unveiled plans for an overhaul of the A&E target alongside changes to waiting times for cancer, mental health and planned operations.

Instead of aiming to see and treat virtually all A&E patients within four hours, the sickest people, those coming in with heart attacks, acute asthma, sepsis or stroke, will be prioritised for quick treatment. The changes will be piloted this year and, if successful, could be introduced in 2020.

Many in the NHS credit existing waiting times targets with eliminating the longest waits and serving as a good barometer of wider health service performance. However, the target has not been hit since July 2015 as hospitals deal with rising numbers of older, sicker patients.

The target to discharge, admit or transfer 98 per cent of patients arriving in A&E within four hours was introduced in 2004 and set at 95 per cent in 2010.

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
"The findings from our recent survey on NHS waiting times suggests that, on balance, patients would be open to more sophisticated targets, including the possibility that people with less urgent needs may have to wait longer if that means the more seriously ill get faster treatment. Patient experience and outcome has to be at the heart of any changes, and it is essential that patients' views are listened to and acted on through genuine consultation before any change to what the NHS provides, including to performance standards."

You can find out more here.  
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Opportunities to have your say
NICE committee to develop antimicrobial prescribing guidelines
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recruiting expert lay members to help develop antimicrobial prescribing guidelines.
NICE is looking for individuals with experience of: People who have an understanding or experience of either of these two topics are invited to apply. This understanding could have been gained through personal experience, as a relative or carer of someone who has used health services, or as a volunteer or employee of a relevant voluntary organisation or support group.
The time commitment for each role is around seven months.

More information can be found here.

Share your views: help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan
The NHS is inviting patients, the public, NHS staff and partner organisations to provide their views on potential proposals for changing current legislation relating to the NHS.

The call for people to share their views follows a meeting between leaders of NHS England and NHS Improvement, where both organisations agreed a series of new measures to ’improve collaboration‘ across the health service, including a request from the two bodies for permission to merge. The two bodies believe that targeted amendments to the law could help local and national health organisations work together more effectively to improve services for patients.

You can give your views directly to NHS England about its proposals by completing this online questionnaire. The survey closes on 25 April.
The Patients Association will also be submitting a full formal response. If you’d like to share your views now, please email We will be publishing an initial reaction within the next few weeks and inviting further views before we finalised our response.

Share your views: National Data Guardian
Patients and members of the public are invited to share their views on the key priorities for the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care (NDG), as the role moves to a new phase. In December 2018 Parliament passed a law to place the role of the NDG on a statutory footing. This law gives the NDG the ability to issue guidance about the processing of health and adult social care data.

Your views will help the Government decide what the key priorities should be for the NDG. You find out more about the consultation and submit your response here. The deadline for responses is 22 March.

Webinar: experiences of people living with COPD
Patients and members of the public are invited to attend a free webinar which will discuss the health aspects of living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the name for a group of lung conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis that cause breathing difficulties.

The webinar will be led by a member of an awareness group called The Breathers, who for over 10 years have shared information in their local community about living with COPD, and supported people living with the condition. Heather Eardley, Patients Association Project Manager, will also take part in the webinar, and will be sharing information about how the work of The Breathers can reach more people through e-resources. Heather has been working on behalf of the Patients Association on an exciting project called eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC), which aims to improve the use of technology and innovation in both health and social care in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

You can find out more about the webinar and register for free here.
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National Voices launches Peer Support Hub
National Voices, a coalition of health and care charities, has this week launched a new Peer Support Hub. The Hub is an online bank of resources that will help people to measure, evaluate, sustain and grow different types of peer support. It’s designed for people who have already set up peer support programmes, including organisational managers and individuals who run sessions.

You can also add your own resources through the Hub’s community upload function. Find out more here.
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Contact our helpline
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
One in four cancer patients wait two months for treatment, as NHS performance hits record low
NHS let me down, says health manager with cancer
‘Joined-up care in action - an integrated approach to meeting the needs of homeless people’
Cholesterol-lowering pill 'new option for statin users
Cervical smear campaign launched as 'Jade Goody effect' wears off

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