§ Mr. Arnold
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what sources of information are used in the compilation of National Health Service waiting lists for (a) in-patient and (b) out-patient treatment; what assessment he has made of the accuracy of these figures; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
Information on waiting lists for out-patient treatment is not collected centrally. In-patient waiting list figures are collected centrally three times a year; on the district statistical return SBH 203 which records the position at 31 March and 30 September, and on the hospital return SH 3 at 31 December. The waiting list returns are validated by the Department in consultation with health authorities to eliminate obvious recording errors. About two fifths of those admitted from the waiting list know in advance the date they expect to be admitted. The waiting list contains an unknown proportion of people who no longer require treatment but whose names have not yet been removed.