§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how average waiting times for(a) consultation with a consultant and (b) elective surgery have changed in the past six years. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Between March 1997 and March 2002 the number of people waiting over 26 weeks for their first out-patient appointment fell from 70,700 at end March 1997 to 1,200 at end March 2003, and less that 700 at end December 2002.
The table shows the estimated median time waiting, in weeks, for in-patient admission in England at the end of March 1997 to March 2002 and the latest position. Over this period the number of people waiting over 15 months for in-patient admission fell from over 5,700 at the end March 1997 to 224 at end March 2002, and eight at end December 2002.
In-patient (commissioner based) Estimated median wait in weeks March 1997 13.21 March 1998 14.87 March 1999 12.86 March 2000 12.87 March 2001 12.57 March 2002 12.66 December 20021 12.46 1Latest published quarterly data
Department of Health form KH07