§ Dr. Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what instructions the national health service management executive has given to hospitals in respect of telling patients how long they will have to wait for their operations; and if she will make a statement.
(2) what action she is taking to reduce hospital waiting lists and to keep patients informed about the length of time they will have to wait for operations.
§ Mr. Sackville
We have made it a requirement under the patients charter that all hospitals must inform patients of the guaranteed date by which they will be admitted for 201W treatment. In addition, a national telephone health helpline has been established under the patients charter so that patients can inquire about local waiting times as well as a wide variety of other health matters.
Since 1987 we have provided a waiting time fund of nearly £200 million to enable hundreds of thousands of additional patients to be treated from waiting lists. Waiting times for hospital treatment have improved dramatically and we are determined to build on this success.