Speech: Jeremy Hunt: message to NHS staff on their excellent performance

Let me start by thanking you all for your concerted efforts over the winter period. Speculation about a crisis proved misplaced as the A&E target was met in the last quarter, maintaining excellent performance in the year overall. In fact, average waiting times in A&E continue to fall – from well over an hour in 2010 to less than half that time now.

Performance is improving in spite of significant rises in demand. This has everything to do with your dedication and hard work, and I am hugely grateful for your determination to continue to deliver high standards.

Compared with 3 years ago, annually a million more people visit A&E departments, and a million more operations are carried out – though the new Friends and Family test shows high levels of patient satisfaction. Thanks to your hard work, hospital infections have halved, the number of patients feeling they are treated with dignity and compassion is at an all-time high, and just last week we heard that 10-year survival rates for cancer have doubled since 1970.

During his first appearance before the Health Select Committee, the new NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens talked about the willingness of staff to go the extra mile, and of the goodwill that exists with the NHS. I couldn’t agree more.

So thanks for all that you are doing – and keep up the good work!

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