§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what effect the recommendations of the resouce allocation working party have had on hospital facilities and waiting lists in north Staffordshire;
(2) if he will tabulate, according to the clinical speciality, the number of patients on north Staffordshire who are on waiting lists for (a) urgent treatment and (b) non-urgent treatment; and if he will give the totals in each of these two categories;
(3) if, pending a reduction in hospital waiting lists, he will provide additional resources to enable patients needing urgent attention to be treated at hospitals with short waiting lists in other parts of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement;
(4) what steps he plans to take in conjunction with the West Midlands regional health authority to cut hospital waiting lists in north Staffordshire; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Patten
National Health Service inpatient waiting lists in September 1984 were almost 70,000 lower than those at March 1979. They would have been lower still but for the industrial action in 1982. Within this national picture, the position varies between health authorities and the latest figures for north Staffordshire are set out in the following table. Responsibility for getting this figure down lies with local management. West Midlands regional health authority has consistently received significant levels of growth money after allowing for pay and prices and, in line with the recommendations of the resource allocation working party, has been allocating an increasing proportion of these funds to those districts furthest from their RAWP targets, including north Staffordshire. In 1985–86 the district, as part of its revenue allocation of almost £80 million, will receive growth money of some £1.5 million, the highest of the region's 22 districts. It is the region's stated policy to continue to move money to its districts which historically have been relatively deprived, and we would expect this shift to be reflected in reductions in waiting lists as the policy takes effect.
Number of persons on inpatient waiting list for admission to NHS hospitals in north Staffordshire DHA on 30 September 1984 Specialty Urgent cases Non-urgent cases General medicine 5 — Dermatology — 3 Neurology — 113 Cardiology — 146 Rheumatology — 23 Younger disabled — 5 General surgery 409 1,787 Ear, nose and throat 20 980 Traumatic and orthopaedic surgery 278 3,021 Ophthalmology 7 558 Urology — 228 Plastic surgery 1 332 Thoracic surgery 3 24 Neurosurgery — 64 Gynaecology 30 1,806 Mental handicap — 4
Specialty Urgent cases Non-urgent cases Mental illness — 30 Other specialist units 3 12 Total 756 9,136
Classification as urgent or non-urgent is decided by the clinician in charge as at the date to which the return relates. In general, figures in waiting lists are believed to include a significant proportion of duplicated entries and patients who no longer require treatment. About half of all admissions to hospital are immediate and many of these on waiting lists already have a planned date of admission.