HC Deb 24 May 1994 vol 244 c176
13. Mr. Thurnham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the latest figure for the number of patients treated in NHS hospitals in the North Western region before 1 April; and what was the equivalent figure in (i) 1990–91 and (ii) 1978–79.

Mr. Sackville

Hospital patient activity in the former North Western region rose from 503,000 in 1978–79 to 711,000 in 1990–91 and 775,000 in 1992–93.

Mr. Thurnham

Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating Bolton hospitals trust on slashing waiting lists to nil for those who have been waiting more than 18 months and to half for those who have been waiting more than 12 months? Does he look forward to Bolton's new £45 million hospital—the largest in the north-west—which will slash waiting lists even further?

Mr. Sackville

My hon. Friend and I have a common interest in congratulating Bolton hospital on its achievements over the past 10 years. I pay a tribute to my hon. Friend for the part that he played in securing that wonderful new hospital for Bolton.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Minister aware that I waited 20 months for a first appointment with a specialist in Bolton hospital? Is not that a hidden waiting list?

Mr. Sackville

We have made enormous progress in cutting down the unacceptably long waits. The hon. Gentleman's GP had the option to ensure that his case was treated as a priority.