HC Deb 18 February 1991 vol 186 cc35-6W
Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what matters were discussed at the meeting last week between Mr. John Yates of the Inter-Authority Comparisons and Consultancy Company and the Minister of State; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what reasons have been given to him by the Inter-Authority Comparisons and Consultancy Company for its withdrawal from the Government's initiative on reduction of hospital waiting lists; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Mr. Yates was invited to explain the decision to withdraw from the agreement with the Department to carry out studies of long waiting lists in 1991–92. We are determined to reduce the number of long-wait patients. We expect to use outside help to carry this important work forward.

Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what instructions have been given to health authorities with regard to the reduction of hospital patients' waiting lists; and what targets have been set for achievement by March 1992.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Duncan Nichol, chief executive of the NHS management executive, has written to general managers to say that targets will be agreed with each of the 14 regional health authorities for substantial reductions in the number of patients who wait more than one year for treatment. As a minimum, no patient should have to wait more than two years by March 1992. The £35 million waiting list fund for 1991–92 will be deployed to help regions achieve their targets.

Mr. Tony Banks

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the latest estimate of those on the NHS waiting lists in the Greater London area; and what the figure was in each of the last five years.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

[holding answer 17 January 1991]: Figures for March 1990, the latest available centrally, and the previous five years are given in the table. What matters is the time patients wait, not the total numbers on the list. In the 12 months to March 1990 the number of patients waiting over one year for in-patient treatment in the Greater London area health authorities fell by 14 per cent.

London Health Authorities: Waiting lists at 31 March (in-patients)
Total (excluding self-deferred cases)
1985 107,951
1986 121,412
1987 125,077

Total (excluding self-deferred cases)
1988 124,661
1989 130,482
1990 126,616

Source: SBH2O3 1985–1987.

KH06/7/7A 1988–90.