The Guardian reports that a new £160m NHS initiative has been launched to allow tens of thousands of patients to get quicker access to diagnostic tests and surgery. Hospitals will use the money to buy mobile CT and MRI scanning trucks, put on extra surgery in evenings and at weekends, and look after patients at home in “virtual wards”.
The move comes days after Downing Street made clear that reducing patients’ waiting times for hospital treatment would be a “critical priority” for the government for the next few years. Boris Johnson underlined their importance in Tuesday’s Queen’s speech and stressed the need for people with so far undiagnosed conditions, including cancer, to visit their GP and seek treatment.
NHS England has designated groups of NHS trusts working together in 12 parts of the country as “elective accelerators”. They will be given up to £20m each if they manage to carry out 20% more planned activity – diagnostic tests, operations and outpatient appointments – by July than they did at the same point in 2019-20, before the pandemic struck.
Full story in The Guardian, 13 May 2021