(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s under-pressure National Health Service will publish a plan on Monday setting out how it will cut ambulance and accident and emergency waiting times this year, people familiar with the plans said.
Under the urgent and emergency care plan, several billions of pounds will be allocated to improve ambulance response times, ensuring people suffering from strokes and chest pains are reached within 30 minutes on average, the people said. The plan also aims to bring down waiting times at hospital emergency departments, they said.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay told a Cabinet meeting at Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Chequers country residence on Thursday that the plan was ready to be announced, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing unannounced proposals.
Sunak’s administration is trying to get to grips with surging waiting times for emergency care that have become a toxic political issue in recent weeks. Reports of people in their fifties and sixties dying after ambulances failed to respond to complaints of chest pains have led to accusations from opposition parties that the Conservative government — in power for 13 years — has hollowed out the health service.
A person present at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting described the plan to fix emergency waiting times as the single most important policy commitment the government could make, as every single one of them knew someone who had been affected by an inability to access NHS services, a situation that they said could not last.
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