RCoA responds to NHS England’s interim report for the Review of NHS Access Standards

Responding to NHS England’s interim report for the Review of NHS Access Standards, Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said:

“The NHS’ Long Term Plan set an ambitious series of commitments to improve patient care. In that context it makes sense to review the current standards.

“Any proposed changes need to be tested therefore we support NHS England’s plans to pilot new NHS targets and measures across services for mental health, cancer care, elective care and urgent and emergency care.

“We are encouraged by NHS England seeking clinical input into the development of these proposed new standards and urge continued engagement with Medical Royal Colleges and patient groups throughout the pilot and review phases.

“It is important the pilots and new standards support new ways of delivering healthcare, such as perioperative care pathways. The period between referral for surgery and the day of operation presents a golden opportunity for prehabilitation, which, facilitated by hospitals’ perioperative teams, ensures that the patient is in the best physical and mental condition ahead of surgery.

“Fitter patients recover from surgery quicker and experience fewer complications than those who do not receive a comprehensive preoperative assessment in hospital. Shared decision-making should be a fundamental element of discussions with patients regarding their surgery.

“The quality of care should not be measured by time based targets alone, but also include post-operative outcomes and the quality of life after surgery.”

12 March 2019