Commenting on the latest NHS England monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow the Health Foundation, said:
'Today’s figures present an extremely worrying picture of how the NHS in England is performing at the end of a relatively mild winter. Despite lower levels of flu and vomiting virus, we have seen the worst level of performance against the four hour A&E target since records began.
'The NHS is also struggling to ensure that people with cancer are treated quickly. Nearly 25% of people urgently referred with suspected cancer did not start treatment within the target 62 days in January, largely due to delays in diagnosis.
'It’s unclear how the NHS will be able to meet the new commitment outlined earlier this week to diagnose cancers within 28 days of an urgent referral. Investment is urgently needed in new diagnostic equipment, as well as the workforce to operate it, to speed up diagnosis and treatment.
'Across all the targets, it will also be important that the NHS continues to publish data to allow performance to be monitored over time. The proposed new performance standards, launched earlier this week, will need to be rigorously evaluated to ensure they represent genuine improvements to the quality of care.'
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