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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hastings and Rye (Michael Jabez Foster) of 11 October 2006, Official Report, column 291, on engagements, what the reasons are for the differences between the Prime Minister’s answer and the figures for the number of patients waiting over 26 weeks at the end of August 2006 given in the Department of Health statistical press notice of 29 September 2006. (97137)

The six-month operational standard came into effect across the national health service from 1 January 2006. No patient should have to be waiting longer than this for in-patient treatment from the decision-to-treat date.

Latest data for the end of August 2006 show that 115 patients, less than 0.02 per cent. of a total waiting list of 769,461, were waiting over six months. This compares with 1997 when almost 300,000 people were waiting more than 15 months for their operations.