NHS waiting list falls below 800,000 for the first time
Dec 4, 2005 - 10:02:38 AM

The number of people on NHS waiting lists in England has fallen below 800,000 for the first time, new figures released today by the Department of Health have shown.

The figures show that in October the waiting list stood at 792,000 a fall of 366,000 since March 1997. This is the lowest figure recorded since waiting list data was first collected in this way in September 1988.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt welcomed the further progress in improving access to NHS treatment.

She said:

“Investment and reform are working. The waiting list is at a record low and patients are experiencing the fastest ever access to NHS treatment.

“The service is on target to achieve a maximum wait of six months for an operation by the end of this year and we know that most patients are already being treated much quicker, with an average wait of around eight weeks.

“But there is still more to do. In October I set out further details of how, by 2008, no one will wait longer than 18 weeks from GP to hospital treatment.

“We are on track to abolish waits in the NHS.”

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