Probe launched as NHS remedy ready lists rise hitting 7.6 million

Wes Streeting has launched a ‘raw and honest’ review of NHS performance as new figures show growing waits for routine care and ambulances.

The health secretary has appointed Professor Lord Darzi, a surgeon and former health minister, to lead the independent investigation, which will expose ‘the hard truths’.

His findings will be delivered in September and will form the basis of the government’s ten-year plan to ‘radically reform the NHS and build a health service that is fit for the future’.

The announcement came as NHS England revealed waiting lists for routine care have increased for the second month in a row.

An estimated 6.38million patients were waiting for 7.60million treatments to be carried out at the end of May, which is up from 6.33million patients and 7.57million treatments at the end of April.

Wes Streeting has launched a ‘raw and honest’ review of NHS performance as new figures show growing waits for routine care and ambulances

Wes Streeting has launched a ‘raw and honest’ review of NHS performance as new figures show growing waits for routine care and ambulances

Meanwhile, ambulances took an average of 34 minutes 38 seconds to respond to emergency calls such as heart attacks, strokes and sepsis in June.

This is up from 32 minutes 44 seconds in May, while the target is 18 minutes.

Furthermore, the proportion of patients waiting no longer than 62 days in May from an urgent cancer referral to starting treatment was 65.8 per cent – down from 66.6 per cent the previous month.

Mr Streeting said: ‘Anyone who works in or uses the NHS can see it is broken.

‘This government will be honest about the challenges facing the health service and serious about tackling them.

‘This investigation will uncover hard truths and I’ve asked for nothing to be held back.

‘I trust Lord Darzi will leave no stone unturned and have told him to speak truth to power.

‘I want a raw and frank assessment of the state of the NHS.

‘This is the necessary first step on the road to recovery for our National Health Service, so it can be there for us when we need it, once again.’

Professor Lord Darzi said: ‘As every clinician and every patient knows, the first step to addressing any health problem is a proper diagnosis.

‘My work will analyse the evidence to understand where we are today – and how we got to here – so that the health service can move forward.

‘This is an important step to reestablishing quality of care as the organising principle of the NHS.’

Despite the overall decline in performance, the latest data does show slight improvements in A&E.

The number of people waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments from a decision to admit to actually being admitted stood at 38,106 in June, down from 42,555 in May.

And 74.6 per cent of patients in England were seen within four hours in A&Es last month, up from 74.0 per cent in May.

Tim Gardner, assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation think tank, said: ‘The election of a new Labour government is a significant moment for the health service, which is arguably experiencing the worst crisis in its 76-year history.

‘While there are no quick fixes, with the right blend of policy change, innovation and investment, the new government can put the NHS back on its feet.

‘Today’s statistics serve as a stark reminder of the huge mountain to climb.’

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘Frontline NHS staff are doing an incredible job, despite the huge pressures they face, to deliver care to over a million people every day, but we know that they face huge struggles and patients are not always getting the timely, high quality care they need.

‘We will work closely with the government, independent experts and NHS staff to take a detailed look at the scale of the challenges and set out plans to address them – this comprehensive analysis will be an important step in helping us to build an NHS fit for the future.’

More than 7,000 GPs are needed in the next 12 years  

There were 27,606 fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs working in England in April, equating to one GP for over 2,000 patients, on average.

However, a ratio of 1,800 patients per GP is widely recognised by industry bodies as the ‘safe limit’.

As it stands, more than 4,000 GPs would need to be recruited to meet this ratio, MailOnline analysis suggests.

However, the ONS projects there will be an extra 6.6million people living in the UK as of 2036.

Assuming this growth kept in line with current demographic trends, this would see England’s population hit 62.2million.

Under this figure, 34,536 GPs would have to be working in the NHS to meet the one per 1,800 patient ratio, meaning an additional 7,076 family doctor positions are required over the next 12 years.