The government has no “real plan” to turn additional funding from a planned £12 billion increase in national insurance into better outcomes for NHS patients in England receiving cancer treatment or those on waiting lists for electives. care, MPs have warned.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee criticized the Department of Health and Social Care in a report published Wednesday for “monitoring years of decline” in cancer and non-urgent wait times for surgery, which predate the pandemic. It called on the health service to “get on the road . † † timetables, costs and outputs” to overcome the current backlog.

NHS England and the health department “seemed unwilling to make measurable commitments,” the report said. MPs also said: “There is no national plan to deal with” [the] postcode lottery” that determines the quality of patient care.

The commission’s report follows a struggle between the Treasury and health chiefs over setting clearer targets for the NHS pandemic recovery plan ahead of a manifestly devastating £12bn increase in national insurance premiums, which comes into effect in April. NHS England has so far only promised that the extra money will help bring elective care activity 30 per cent above pre-pandemic levels by 2024-25.

Last December, nearly 6.1 million patients were waiting for non-emergency care, including hip or knee replacements, the largest number since comparable records began in 2007. The eight targets for cancer care have not been met since 2014, the committee noted. An estimate by the National Audit Office indicates that the backlog will continue to grow to about 7 million in 2024, despite the extra funding.

Meg Hillier, the committee chair, said her colleagues were “extremely concerned that there is no real plan to turn a major injection of money, for elective care and capital costs from dangerously crumbling facilities, into better outcomes for people waiting for life-saving or quality amenities.” life-enhancing treatment”.

She accused the health department of struggling to understand the “biggest problem and the only solution to all its problems” – the way it manages “heroic NHS staff”. “Exhausted and demoralized, they have emerged after two grueling years to face ever-longer lists of sicker people,” she said, adding that the problem was “exacerbated by staff shortages.”

The committee also expressed concern about how “people who have not received or been unable to receive healthcare during the pandemic” could put a further burden on the NHS. As of February 2020, an estimated 240,000 to 740,000 cancer referrals have been missed.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organizations across the healthcare sector, said the report highlighted how the health service “paid the price for the longest financial tightness in the history of the NHS in the 2010s”. He added that the missing referrals and staff shortages were the “two main concerns” for the NHS in closing the backlog.

Saffron Cordery, deputy director of NHS Providers, which represents healthcare leaders, called on the government to “determine the concrete action it will take to tackle the 110,000 staff vacancies and ensure a sustainable workload for the workforce. offer”. “These staff shortages are putting significant pressure on the quality of care and patient safety,” she added.

“The pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on healthcare and we are addressing this immediately,” the health department said, pointing to the “record billions of pounds” investment in the NHS over the next three years and a ten-year plan to improve cancer treatment.

“We are clear that ‘business as usual’ is not enough,” it added. “That is why by 2025 we will deliver brand new surgical hubs and an additional 100 community diagnostic centers providing 9 million additional scans, checkups and procedures.”

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