HC Deb 17 July 1974 vol 877 cc193-4W
Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many NHS patients are waiting for operations in the Walsall area for (a) inguinal hernia, (b) hypertrophy tonsils and adenoids or any other like operations not considered to be of clinical necessity.

Dr. Owen

Latest available information on NHS patients waiting for non-urgent surgery as at 31st March 1974 is:

General surgery (including inguinal hernia) 1,399
Ear, nose and throat, tonsils and adenoids 905
Ear, nose and throat, other 1,047

Separate figures for the various operative conditions described as general surgery are not readily available. Clinically urgent cases are admitted without delay.

Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated loss in industrial production due to reduced efficiency of workers obliged to wait for an operation, e.g., hernia, under the National Health Service.

Dr. Owen

I regret that this information is not available and would be difficult to estimate.

Mr. Stainton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is aware of the delays for orthopaedic consultations and admissions in the Ipswich Hospital Group; what are the principal reasons; and what remedies are being applied.

Dr. Owen

In-patients can be admitted soon after they have been seen in the out-patients department. In the out-patients department I understand that the waiting time for an appointment is about half that which applied 12 months ago. The problems which the area health authority is seeking to overcome arise mainly from population growth in the locality, and shortage of junior medical staff with appropriate experience. As I told the hon. Member in my reply to him on 9th May—[Vol. 873, c. 265.]—the area health authority is considering what can be done to improve the position. I am asking the authority to write to the hon. Member when its review is complete.

Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average length of time of waiting for patients requiring the following operations: tonsillectomies, hernias and varicose veins.

Dr. Owen

Information in exactly this form is not available. The following is taken from the Report on the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry, which, among other things, gives average waiting times for patients admitted from waiting lists in England and Wales in 1972, the latest year for which statistics have been published.

Hypertrophy of tonsils and adenoids 22.6 weeks
Hernia (with or without obstruction) 16.4 weeks
Varicose veins of lower extremities 26.6 weeks