§ Mr. Etherington
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce hospital waiting lists for patients in Sunderland; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Milburn
In his Budget last month, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made an extra £417 million available to the National Health Service in England for 1998/99. £320 million of this will be used specifically to cut waiting lists. All health authorities and NHS trusts will be set waiting list targets to reduce the number of people awaiting hospital admission to less than 1.16 million by 31 March 1999, taking the total to below the record level inherited by the Government. Provisional management information indicates that on 31 March 1998 there were no English residents waiting more than 18 months for admission to hospital.