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Dental Services: Waiting Lists

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for (a) initial orthodontic assessment and (b) subsequent orthodontic treatment was in the North East region in each of the last five years. (286247)

The following tables show the median in-patient waiting time for elective admission in weeks for oral surgery, orthodontics between the time periods shown (table 1) and the median out-patient waiting time for a first out-patient appointment in weeks for the time periods shown (table 2).

Table 1: In-patient commissioner hospital-based waiting list statistics: specialties—oral surgery, orthodontics

Weeks

Month ending

Area

Specialty

March 2003

March 2004

March 2005

March 2006

March 2007

September 2007

North East

Oral surgery

8.4

8.4

6.6

6.6

6.5

7.1

North East

Orthodontics

8.0

8.2

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a = No orthodontic waiters were declared for the time periods specified.

Notes:

1. Figures are shown for organisations that existed at the time.

2. In-patient waiting times are measured from decision to admit by the consultant to admission to hospital.

3. The last time this data was collected was for period ending September 2007.

4. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits.

5. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.

Source:

Department of Health Waiting List Collections QF01 and MMRCOM.

Table 2: Median out-patient waiting time for first out-patient appointment not seen, 2005-07 (commissioner-based), out-patient commissioner hospital-based waiting list statistics: specialties—oral surgery, orthodontics

Weeks

Month ending

Area

Specialty

March 2005

March 2006

March 2007

September 2007

North East

Oral surgery

4.5

4.7

4.1

3.8

North East

Orthodontics

5.4

5.6

4.4

4.5

n/a = No orthodontic waiters were declared for the time periods specified or there were very low numbers.

Notes:

1. Figures are shown for organisations that existed at the time.

2. Out-patient waiting times are measured from referral by the general practitioner (GP) to first out-patient appointment to the consultant.

3. From 2004-05 all timebands for out-patients not seen were first collected so only average waiting first out-patient times can be made from this point in time.

4. The last time this data was collected was for period ending September 2007.

5. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.

Source:

Department of Health Waiting List Collections QM08R and MMRCOM.

From 1 January 2009, no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their GP or dentist to start of their consultant-led treatment unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer. The 18-week commitment covers pathways that involve or might involve consultant-led care, including orthodontics, which is now recorded under the oral surgery speciality.

Latest data show that since January 2009, the national health service has been delivering the operating standards for 18 weeks to ensure that no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred to the start of their consultant-led treatment, unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer.