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#GPnews: New NHS improvement lead says she will stick with private healthcare plan

14:20 The person named the next chair of NHS Improvement has come under fire for saying she will not give up her private health insurance.

In her pre-appointment interview with MPs on the House of Commons Health Committee, Baroness Dido Harding was asked if it would send a ‘positive message’ for her to give up private healthcare when she starts in the position, reports the Independent.

But Baroness Harding – who is the Governmnt’s preferred candidate to head up NHS Improvement – said: ‘I really don’t, not least because a very large number of the trusts that NHS Improvement regulates do private business as well as NHS business. I don’t think we should be demonising one over the other.

‘I think the NHS itself is absolutely a pillar of British society but as I’ve said I think it’s pretty obvious from the outside that the system needs more money. I think we’d be cutting off our hand to spite our face if we demonise private healthcare.’

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: ‘She is hoping to head the organisation that is responsible for improving healthcare for the population of England, 95% of whom don’t access to private healthcare.

‘These people will want to feel confident that the person in charge is fully committed to using the NHS in order to have confidence that she will battle on their behalf.’

12:25 Former GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, now the chair of the BMA, spoke to BBC 5 Live about the declining performance of hospitals this morning.

12:10 The NHS is on track to deliver its National Cancer Programme, bringing UK cancer care up to ‘world class’ standard by 2020/21, according to a report published today.

Some £130m is being invested over the period 2016/18 in ‘new and upgraded radiotherapy equipment’ and £200m over the next two years in ‘rapid diagnosis’ and improvement to patients’ ‘quality of life’, NHS England says.

The report describes the five pilot sites which are trialling a diagnosis standard aimed at ensuring patients get a cancer diagnosis or ‘all clear’ within 28 days. It also highlights a new ‘world-first’ quality of life metric, being tested around the country, to measure long-term outcomes for patients once they are out of cancer treatment.

NHS national cancer director Cally Palmer said: ‘Cancer survival rates have never been higher than they are today and patients are reporting a very good experience of cancer care.

‘I am confident the NHS can deliver the recommendations of the Cancer Taskforce and I am certain these recommendations will improve survival rates even further, enhance quality of life for cancer patients and ultimately provide the very best cancer services to patients everywhere.’

09:40A BBC analysis has found that the performance of hospitals across the UK has slumped with targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations now being missed en masse. 

It has launched its online ‘NHS Tracker’ project, which sets out trusts’ performance against targets.

It found that nationally England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit one of their three key targets for 18 months – four-hour A&E waits, 62-day cancer care and planned operations and treatment – while Scotland hit its A&E target three times.

There is just one service in the whole of the UK – run by Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust – which has managed to hit all three targets each time over the past 12 months.