Wednesday 15 January 2020 11:12 am

Health secretary Hancock suggests A&E waiting targets could be scrapped

Four-hour waiting targets for A&E could be scrapped in England, on the back of the worst figures on record this winter, Matt Hancock hinted this morning.

The health secretary said “clinically appropriate” aims and the “right targets” would be a better approach, as he sought to defend the NHS’s failure to meet existing targets in the last few months.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Hancock said: “We will be judged by the right targets. Targets have to be clinically appropriate. The four-hour target in A&E – which is often taken as the top way of measuring what’s going on in hospitals – the problem with that target is that increasingly people are treated on the day and are able to go home.

“It’s much better for the patient and also better for the NHS and yet the way that’s counted in the target doesn’t work. It’s far better to have targets that are clinically appropriate and supported by clinicians.”

A decision about the flagship four-hour target is due to be taken by NHS England in the coming months.