§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate how many people in each health region are currently waiting for an appointment with a consultant following referral by a general practitioner; if he will provide a breakdown of the length of time for which those people(a) have already waited and (b) are expected to wait; and if he will list for each region the waiting time being given to new entrants to this waiting list for (i) ear, nose and throat, (ii) trauma and orthopaedic, (iii) general surgery, (iv) ophthalmology and (v) gynaecology consultants. 
§ Mr. Denham
Available information on waiting times for first outpatient appointments following general practitioner written referral is shown in the table. Information on expected waiting times is not available centrally.555W
Number of patients in England waiting for first outpatient appointments following a general practitioner written referral, for the quarter ended 31 December 1998 Region Number who had been waiting 13 to 25 weeks Number who had been waiting 26 plus weeks Northern and Yorkshire 36,569 17,764 Trent 35,903 20,784 Anglia and Oxford 34,480 14,850 North Thames 54,606 20,841 South Thames 40,305 15,005 South and West 35,109 17,283 West Midlands 31,366 11,353 North West 54,880 26,534 England 323,218 144,404
Figures derived from waiting times form QM08 completed by National Health Service trusts each quarter.
§ Mr. Denham
[holding answer 25 February 1999]: Mid Essex Hospital National Health Service Trust's total waiting list was 11,832 at 31 October 1998; 11,347 at 30 November 1998; 11,359 at the end of December 1998; and 11,172 at the end of January 1999.