The performance of hospitals across the UK has slumped with targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations now being missed across the board, according to research by the BBC.
Nationally England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit one of their three targets for 18 months. Only Scotland has had any success in the last 12 months – hitting its A&E target three times.
The research indicates that growing demand has left the NHS struggling to keep up – with patients suffering as a result.
If there is a serious delay in treatment, NHS Trusts are leaving themselves wide open to claims for negligence. Latest figures show that nationally there were 2,445 clinical negligence claims for failed or delayed treatment in 2015 – 2016, with £557 million awarded in compensation – enough money to train 16,000 nurses. Of that, £424 million was claimed by patients whose diagnoses were delayed.