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Thursday 8th December 2016
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Patients wait over a year

7th June 2007

New government figures have revealed that up to one in eight hospital patients are waiting for more than a year.

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At present, waiting times are only deemed to have started from the point of diagnosis rather than when a patient sees their family doctor. But by December 2008, all health trust musts meet an 18-week target from when a patient first sees their GP to receiving treatment.

Government ministers have now promised to tackle the “hidden wait� to ensure the 18-week target is met by the date.

A survey of 200,000 patients has shown that 48% of patients needing non-emergency surgery did receive treatment within 18 weeks, but some have waited longer, particularly in areas such as orthopaedics, ophthalmology and gynaecology.

Research carried out by the Liberal Democrats has shown that for many patients the “hidden wait� can be just as long as the “official wait.�

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “These figures demonstrate how far we have to go to catch up with most other developed countries. Behind the statistics, thousands of sick people are still waiting more than a year for hospital treatment.�

Nigel Edwards, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said the latest figures gave a much clearer picture over waiting times and said there was optimism within the health service that the 18-week target will be met.

Health Minister Andy Burnham said the data was a “huge psychological step� for the NHS. At present, all patients are seen within six months from the point of diagnosis.

 

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