HC Deb 30 July 1962 vol 664 cc6-7
11. Sir B. Janner

asked the Minister of Health what is the average waiting time for people in need of operations at hospitals in Leicester; whether he is aware that in some instances the time is as long as six years, due to the shortage of nurses; and what steps he is taking to remedy the position.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernard Braine)

I know of no such instances. Average waiting time for non-urgent cases last March varied between 4 and 18 months according to the operation. Additional surgical beds and theatres are to be provided at both the General Hospital and the Royal Infirmary.

Sir B. Janner

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that a petition has been presented in which the facts I have given today are referred to? If it is the case that people have had to wait for six years for operations, he will, I think, agree that this is shameful. How does he intend to improve the position even from the 18 months he is talking about?

Mr. Braine

I think there must be some slight misunderstanding. Two cases are known to have been on the waiting list for over six years, but in one case the operation was deferred for medical reasons while in the other it was delayed to suit the patient's own convenience. The waiting list for general surgery has been reduced from 3,183 at the end of 1961 to 2,592 at the end of last March. That is a reduction of nearly 20 per cent.