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Waiting Times

Volume 456: debated on Monday 29 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the Mid-Essex Hospital Trust area have been waiting more than 18 weeks for non-emergency treatment that is covered by the 18-week maximum wait target for treatment. (116957)

The information requested is not yet available.

Voluntary collection and reporting of referral to treatment (RTT) data to support the 18-week target has been under way since autumn 2006. Mandatory national RTT waiting time collection for admitted patients begins this month, and for non-admitted patients in April. Publication will begin as soon as the data are of sufficient quality. For admitted data this is likely to be in the spring and for non-admitted data in the summer.

The national health service undertook a baseline data research exercise in summer 2006 involving an estimation methodology that looked at hospital attendance and admission records from earlier in the year. The results, which do not have the status of official or national statistics but are available on the 18-week website at, suggest that, nationally, in early 2006, the pathways of 35 per cent. of admitted and 70-80 per cent. of non-admitted patients met 18 weeks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with the board of the Mid-Essex Hospital Trust on its proposed policy of delaying treatment for more than 18 weeks for patients in orthopaedics and general surgery; and if she will make a statement. (116968)

None. In every part of the country, patients can expect a first outpatient appointment within 13 weeks of general practitioner (GP) referral, and admission to hospital within six months of a decision to admit them. This continues to be the case no matter what measures may have been implemented locally to achieve financial balance. By December 2008, patients will be able to expect to wait no longer than 18 weeks in total from GP referral right through to treatment taking in first out-patients, diagnostic tests and follow-ups and admission for a hospital operation if that is what they require.