HC Deb 18 February 1992 vol 204 cc109-10W
28. Mr. Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what actions have been announced under the waiting list initiative.

Mr. Waldegrave

I have made four announcements which have given fresh impetus to our continued drive to reduce long waiting time.

First, at the start of the financial year, I announced a waiting list fund of £35 million to be used to help health authorities reduce long waiting times. A proportion of this money has been targeted at the 80 worst lists.

Secondly, in October last year, I announced publication of the patients charter, which, for the first time, gives patients a guarantee that, from 1 April 1992, they will not wait more than two years for treatment.

Thirdly, on 3 December, I announced the appointment of an experienced NHS general manager, backed by an additional £2 million, to help health authorities eliminate over two year waiters. Since then we have been able to provide a further £2 million, bringing the total waiting list fund this year to £39 million.

Finally, on 10 February, I announced that we would be providing a further £39 million waiting list fund for next year, taking the total which the Government will have provided between 1987–88 and 1992–93 to nearly £200 million.

30. Ms. Quin

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about hospital waiting lists in the northern area.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Waiting times in the northern region continue to fall. The latest provisional figures show that since March 1991 the number of patients waiting over two years has fallen by 60 per cent. and the number waiting over one year by 15 per cent. In line with the patients charter, the region expects to have no patient waiting over two years by 31 March 1992.