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Hospital Waiting Lists

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the figures for hospital waiting lists for each of the following years (a) March 1976, (b) March 1977, (c) March 1978, (d) March 1979, (e) March 1980 and (f) March 1981; and what are the reasons for differences.

Following are the figures for 31 March in each year:

* Provisional figure based on a 90 per cent. return.
The reasons for the differences are to some extent a matter of speculation, but the sharp increases between the end of March 1978 and the end of March 1979 can largely be attributed to the disturbed industrial relations in the National Health Service in the winter of 1979. The fall since then has been accompanied by a significant increase in the number of patients treated in hospital; the number of discharges and deaths following inpatient treatment rose from 5,400,120 in the year ended 31 December 1979 to 5,670,001 in the year ended 31 December 1980. Statistics are not collected for discharges and deaths during years up to 31 March. In my view, these figures represent a substantial achievement by the National Health Service in responding to the heavy demands placed upon it.