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Mar 21st, 2018

NHS Waiting Times

By Becca McCarthy

BREAKING: Jeremy Hunt has just dropped his promise to patients on NHS waiting times for this year. [1] It means we’ll have to wait longer for operations, and longer to be seen in A&E. [2] And it’s all because of a lack of funding. [3]

Jeremy Hunt wants this kept under wraps. He snuck his decision out late yesterday and the media have barely reported it. This is where we come in.

If Jeremy Hunt faces question after question from MPs about his decision today, he’ll know dropping key NHS promises hasn’t gone unnoticed. He’ll be under more pressure than ever to give our NHS the funding it needs. But MPs will only act if they know constituents expect them to.

Can you email your MP right now and ask them to demand more funding for the NHS so it can meet promises to patients? It only takes a minute and there’s some suggestions of what to say:


Every year the government sets out the priorities for the NHS and what it will mean for patients like us – it’s called the NHS ‘mandate’ and it was published last night. [4] Because our health service has been starved of money for years the government are saying it simply won’t be able to meet promises on waiting times in 2018. [5] That’s despite it being one of the Conservatives’ election promises. [6]

Dropping waiting time targets will mean people facing months of pain while they wait for surgeries like hip replacements, or enduring long waits to be seen in A&E. This can’t become the new normal for our NHS.

One of us alone would find it almost impossible to force Jeremy Hunt to give our NHS the money it needs to care for patients properly. But there are millions of 38 Degrees members like you getting this email today. If we add all our actions up, we can prove to Jeremy Hunt we’re a force to be reckoned with.


[1] The Department for Health and Social Care has published its plans for what the NHS will do for patients next year:
Gov.uk: NHS mandate 2018 to 2019:
[2] It’s difficult to predict what will happen to patient care if these targets are dropped for this year. However, NHS experts have highlighted how important targets in the NHS are for improving care for patients like us:
King’s Fund: Have targets improved NHS performance?:
King’s Fund: What is happening to waiting times in the NHS?:
And NHS professionals have highlighted that missing these targets can lead to worse care for patients: The Royal College of Surgeons said restrictions on elective procedures were a false economy as some patients would deteriorate further. You can read more here:
The Independent: Expect longer waiting times after Philip Hammond’s budget, says NHS:
And Dr Taj Hassan, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has said “Performance that once would have been regarded as utterly unacceptable has now become normal and things are seemingly only getting worse for patients.’ You can read more here:
The Mirror: Labour demands NHS inquiry after A&E waiting times hit their worst since records began:
[3] Health Service Journal: NHS mandate confirms flagship waiting targets on hold:
[4] See note [1]
[5] King’s Fund: Simon Stevens speaks out over NHS funding:
The Guardian: Budget’s £1.6bn cash boost for NHS less than half of experts’ advice:
[6] Conservative Party: 2017 Manifesto:


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