HC Deb 15 February 1988 vol 127 c489W
Mr. Hayes

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to seek to discover the reasons why certain health authorities have waiting lists of over one year; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

We asked regional health authorities to submit comprehensive reports on the nature and causes of their waiting lists and time in July 1986 when we launched our waiting list/times initiative. The reports demonstrated that the causes of excessive waiting times varied from district to district and specialty to specialty. Many of the problems were able to be tackled within existing resources but others did require additional funding. We therefore set up a special £25 million waiting list fund for 1987/88 and aim to have treated some 100,000 additional cases by the end of March.

For 1988/89 we have increased the fund to £30 million and have asked health authorities to make reductions in waiting times their top priority in making bids against the fund.

Progress on projects supported from the fund and health authorities' progress within the initiative generally are monitored regularly.