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Hospitals: Waiting Lists

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the waiting times milestones agreed with strategic health authorities referred to in the answer of 9 March 2006, Official Report, column 1777W, on waiting lists/times, remain in place; what percentage of those waiting for (a) out-patient appointments waiting longer than 11 weeks, (b) diagnostic tests waited longer than 13 weeks and (c) in-patient appointments waited longer than 20 weeks in the most recent period for which figures are available. (125034)

The data requested are shown in the table. The majority of those patients that are waiting over 13 weeks for a diagnostic test are waiting for audiology assessments, on which we published a framework for action on 6 March.

By December 2008, patients can expect a maximum wait of 18 weeks from general practitioner referral to the start of consultant-led treatment, with most patients treated much more quickly. The referral-to-treatment (RTT) milestones are: by March 2008, 85 per cent. within 18 weeks for admitted patients (whose treatment requires a stay in hospital) and 90 per cent. for non-admitted patients {whose treatment is completed without a hospital stay).

The framework of milestones for individual stages of treatment, agreed with strategic health authorities, remains in place and is central to the current planning round for 2007-08. Performance against the RTT milestones will take precedence over the individual stages of treatment.

Month end

Stage of treatment

Relevant milestone (weeks)

Total number waiting

Number waiting over milestone

Percentage waiting over milestone

December 2006

Diagnostic test





January 2007

Out-patient appointment





January 2007

In-patient admission






Department of Health QF01, QM08 and DM01