To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resources are being made available to reduce waiting lists for knee operations; and if he will make a statement on waiting times in North Staffordshire. 
Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for decisions about what healthcare to commission for their local population using available resources and each PCT's budget will grow by a minimum of 28.08 per cent. over the next three years.The Government are aware that orthopaedics is a particularly challenged speciality in terms of waiting times. We are working with a group of 43 of the most challenged trusts in this speciality to support them in analysing the size of the problem that they face. Through this work, we will help them to create an action plan to enable them to meet the waiting times targets for 2005 for their orthopaedic patients.The Government are also actively working with the British Orthopaedic Association to look actively at the supporting issues in orthopaedics, e.g. workforce and epidemiology and benchmarking of services.Significant headway has been made on the key Government targets of waiting times for inpatient and outpatient appointments within the Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority (StHA) area. I understand from the StHA that it expects to meet the key waiting list targets and currently has no English person waiting more than 12 months for an inpatient appointment or more than 21 weeks for an outpatient appointment.