§ 11. Mr. James Lamond
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average waiting period in the Manchester Regional Hospital Board area for an operation after a patient has been placed on the priority waiting list.
§ Mr. Alison
Waiting times for admission vary according to the specialty and the circumstances of the individual case. An average figure for the region would, therefore, have little meaning, but of cases admitted to the two main hospitals in Oldham in the first quarter of this year, just under 60 per cent. had been waiting for less than two months. Urgent cases are, of course, admitted without delay.
§ Mr. Lamond
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one of my constituents waited for admission for well over a year after being placed on the priority list? There is a widespread feeling that that situation is not untypical of the whole country and that it is caused by greedy doctors who are determined to supplement their incomes by using National Health Service facilities and to whom the Hippocratic oath seems to mean as little as the Prime Minister's election promises mean to him?
§ Mr. Alison
The first and factual part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question merits careful investigation and I should be grateful if he would send me a note about the priority case having had to wait for 12 months. It is not typical of Oldham. We recognise that waiting lists are too long, and we are taking steps to see whether we can reduce them.