26/08/2005

NHS waiting list drops to new low

Official figures released today have revealed that waiting lists for NHS operations have reached the lowest level since 1988, when the current system of collating waiting list figures was adopted.

As of July 31, 813,700 people were awaiting an operation, this is a fall of almost 60,000 (6.9%) on the same time last year.

In England, the number of patients waiting over nine months at the end of July 2005 was 15. Two patients were waiting over 12 months.

The statistics revealed that the number of patients waiting over six months at the end of July 2005 was 40,700. This figure represents a decrease of 2,500 (5.9%) from June, and a fall of 30,600 (42.9%) from July 2004.

Ministers have pledged to reduce the waiting times for surgery in England to less than six months by December this year.

Government targets will seek to reduce waiting times from GP consultation to operation to 16 weeks.

(SP/MB)

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