HC Deb 29 June 1976 vol 914 cc111-3W
13. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current waiting list for serious operations in National Health Service hospitals in Wales and England, respectively; and what is that number expressed as a proportion of population, respectively.

Dr. Owen

The total number of patients on waiting lists in the surgical specialties in England at 30th September 1975—the latest available figures—was 496,613. Of this total, 32,818 cases were classified as urgent. The great majority of the remainder were waiting for intermediate and minor types of operation. These totals represent 10 per thousand and 0.71 per thousand respectively of the population in England.

28. Mr. David Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average waiting period before admission to hospital for non-urgent treatment in 1974–75, 1975–76 and to date in 1976.

Dr. Owen

I regret that information is not available in the precise form requested. However, recent statistics available show that of a total of 482,680 patients on waiting lists in all specialties in England on 30th September 1975, and classified as non-urgent, 136,085 had been awaiting admission for more than a year. The latest information about the waiting times of patients who have been admitted to hospital is contained in the report of the Hospital In-Patient Inquiry for the year 1973—Preliminary Tables (Table 2)—which gives average waiting times for various diagnostic groups of patients in each of the former hospital regions. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the table.

47. Mr. Dykes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the number of people awaiting treatment at National Health Service hospitals has increased since March 1974.

Dr. Owen

National figures for March 1974 are not available. The number of patients on hospital in-patient waiting lists in all specialties in England increased between 31st December 1973 and 30th September 1975—the latest date for which national figures are available—as follows:

31st December 1973 508,617
31st December 1974 517,424
30th September 1975 519,552

The provisional figures for numbers on waiting lists at December 1975 show a considerable increase, following the increase in new out-patient attendances during the final six months of 1975. During the first half of 1975 new outpatient attendances, as well as admissions, were lower than usual mainly due to industrial action by doctors, and in consequence fewer persons were added to waiting lists.

48. Mr. Jim Lester

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to introduce methods to measure hospital waiting lists.

Dr. Owen

The numbers on waiting lists are already collected and published. A more important factor is the length of time patients have to wait for admission. We have begun the collection of new statistics giving broad information about the variation in waiting times for in-patient admission in different specialities and areas.