NHS Reform Delivers Shortest Ever Waits, UK
UK Health Minister Lord Warner today said that latest figures show that the NHS remains on course to meet its commitment to deliver a maximum wait of six months for an operation by the end of this year.
Today\'s figures show that in the last year alone, the number of people waiting over 6 months has reduced by almost 80 per cent and the total waiting figures have fallen by nearly 70,000.
Lord Warner said:
\"NHS staff have worked extremely hard to ensure that patients are experiencing the fastest ever access to hospital treatment.
\"By the end of this year, there will be a maximum six month wait, but with the great majority of patients being seen and treated much quicker than this. The average wait is currently eight weeks.
\"But we want to cut waits even further. That is why the NHS is now working towards an even more challenging target. By 2008, no one will wait longer than 18 weeks from GP referral to the start of hospital treatment. Not only will this guarantee patients more certainty about their treatment, it will also finally end the NHS\' hidden waiting lists.\"
The new 18 week patient pathway will be an historic change to the way in which the NHS tackles waiting lists. While this will be the maximum wait, the aim is to ensure that most patient journeys are much shorter than this.
By December 2008, the whole patient journey will be managed and measured as one. For the first time, primary care trusts will be responsible for ensuring all of the local health providers move patients as quickly as possible through the different stages towards treatment.
The NHS is making significant progress in tackling waits - in October, the waiting list fell below 800,000 for the first time and since March 1997 it has decreased by 384,000.
Issued by : DOH Press Office
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