NHS waiting lists 'stay below one million'

Figures released by the Department of Health today have claimed that the the overall inpatient waiting list has remained below one million.

The department said today that the waiting list now stands at 992,600 – which 62,100 less than at the end of June last year, and 165,400 less than in March 1997.There were 34 patients waiting over 12 months for inpatient treatment at the end of June, down from 159 at the end of May. This, said the department, was 20,500 less than at the end of June last year, and 30,200 less than in March 1997. There were 197 patients waiting over 21 weeks for outpatient treatment, down from 328 at the end of May. And the number of people waiting 13 weeks for outpatient treatment has also fallen by 2,446 since last month to 158,800, which is 86,700 less than this time last year. No patients have been waiting for more than the nine-month standard for inpatient treatment of coronary heart disease.

Health Minister John Hutton said: "These figures show that the NHS is continuing to make progress to reduce waiting times for patients.

"Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff, the inpatient waiting list has now fallen below one million. We expect this downwards trend to continue. The extra resources and reforms we are putting into the NHS are starting to make a real difference to patients through reducing waiting times and shortening the waiting list. The health service is on course to ensure that by 2005 no one should have to wait longer than six months for an operation.

"The NHS Plan targets, among others, demand that no one should wait for more than three months for an outpatient appointment by 2005. No one should wait for more than six months for an operation by 2005, falling to three months thereafter, and no one should wait more than four hours in accident and emergency from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge by 2004."


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