§ Sir Neil Macfarlane
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money will be made available to the National Health Service through the waiting list fund in 1990–91; and what are the allocations to regional health authorities.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The National Health Service is treating more patients than ever before, but waiting times in some places and for some specialties are still too long. Next year the waiting list fund will be £33 million. Of this, £20 million will be allocated direct to regional and special health authorities. The allocations to authorities are as follows:281W
Region Allocation (£ million) Northern 1.45 Yorkshire 1.65 Trent 2.00 East Anglian 0.45 North West Thames 1.45 North East Thames 1.60 South East Thames 1.50 South West Thames 0.70 Wessex 1.10 Oxford 0.60 South Western 1.10 West Midlands 2.85 Mersey 1.45 North Western 1.90 Special Health Authorities for the London Postgraduate Teaching Hospitals 0.20 Total 20.00
The remainder of the fund is being earmarked for a special targeted attack on the 100 longest specialty waiting lists in the country. Key data for these lists will be examined by inter-authority comparisons and consultancy, a team of management consultants who are currently investigating the causes of long waiting lists in 22 districts. They will advise whether waiting list fund money should be allocated to regions to help districts tackle these 100 long lists, and will visit selected districts to investigate the problems at first hand.
This £33 million brings the Government's investment in the drive to tackle waiting times to £119 million over four years. In the first three years, the fund has enabled well over 300,000 in-patients and day cases, and over 200,000 out-patients, to be treated.