Shortest NHS waits since records began26th March 2009
Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced the shortest waits for the NHS since records began.
He revealed that the NHS has met its targets of treating patients within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral by their GP with the average wait for treatment for admitted patients put at 8.6 weeks.
Mr Johnson said: "Twelve years ago it was not uncommon for patients to have to wait well over 18 months for an operation.
"Achieving the shortest waits since NHS records began is a tremendous achievement for staff and I congratulate them for all their hard work. Meeting the standard nationally five months before it came into effect, shows the commitment of the whole health service to improving patients' experiences.
"This has improved the lives of millions of people. Every year the NHS carries out 60,000 hip operations, in the last two years the waiting time for this procedure has fallen from around 30 weeks to 12 weeks.
"It's not just patients that benefit from this, clinicians also value the difference it makes to the quality of care they provide."
For cataract patients, he said the average referral to treatment times had fallen from 20 weeks in March 2007, to 10 weeks in January.
With more than 250,000 patients having cataracts removed ever year, the improvement was welcomed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Audiology waits have fallen to five weeks and average referral time for patients admitted for heart treatments fell from 14 weeks in March 2007 to seven weeks in January.
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