§ Mr. Hayes
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer to the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) of 2 December 1998,Official Report, column 877, on waiting lists, what has been the rise in the number of general practitioner referrals over the last six months; and from what source these figures have been derived. 
§ The Prime Minister
General practitioner referrals for an outpatient appointment rose by 31,000 in the first six months of 1998–99, compared to the first six months of 1997–98. Referrals from all sources (including general practitioners, accident and emergency departments, other consultants and other healthcare professionals) rose by 97,000 during the same period.
These figures are derived from the quarterly returns from National Health Service trusts.