§ 9. Mr. Milligan
To ask the Secretary of State for Health by how much long waits for hospital treatment have been reduced in Hampshire over the past two years.
§ Mr. Bowis
Since 31 March 1991, the number of patients waiting for in-patient and day case treatment for more than a year in the four health districts in Hampshire has fallen from 3,489 to 1,033. At 31 March 1991, more than 950 patients were waiting more than two years for treatment. Now no one in Hampshire has to wait for more than two years.
§ Mr. Milligan
That is exceptionally good news, especially for those people—[Interruption.] Hon. Members may jeer, but for those waiting many years for hip replacements that is especially good news. Does my hon. Friend agree that if further action is to be taken to reduce waiting lists one course would be to complete the reorganisation of London hospitals so that areas such as Hampshire get a fairer share of the budget? Given that Southampton general hospital has a greater success rate in general surgery than any London hospital, is it not right that the system by which London hospitals receive the lion's share of resources should be ended as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Bowis
My hon. Friend makes important points about resources and the spreading of them across the country, about the reforms that we have put in place and about the review that is going on in London. I can assure him that the progress that has been made in his part of the world is being made in other parts of the country, including London. Overall, 50 per cent. of patients needing hospital treatment are immediately admitted—98 per cent. in under one year. My hon. Friend drew attention to the number of hip replacements. There have been 50,000 such operations in the past year, as well as 60,000 varicose vein operations, and 90,000 people have had cataract operations. It is a pity that those figures are not sometimes recognised by Opposition Members.
§ Mr. Bowis
We shall certainly look at any particular problem in Preston. As the hon. Lady is aware, Preston is not in Hampshire, but in both Hampshire and Preston we have great progress. The decisons on planning for meeting the needs of the hon. Lady's area are down to the health authorities there, and I must not second guess their clinical health decisions. I am sure that the health authorities for the Preston area are doing their best to ensure that people get their treatment on time as set out in the patients charter.