Waiting lists at three-year high20th April 2011
The King's Fund has warned that waiting lists in England have reached their longest in three years.
The think tank said data released for February showed 15% of patients had to wait more than eighteen weeks to receive treatment, the longest wait since April 2008.
It said the increase in waiting times were because of financial strain on the health service.
However, the government said this data included patients who decided to put off their treatment and as a consequence the correct figure was 10.2%.
The waiting times for hospital treatment in England are calculated from the date when a GP sends a letter asking for their patient to be treated until the treatment begins.
The waiting period is not meant to go over 18 weeks, which is the maximum set out to patients in the NHS constitution.
The government has said it is not "performance managing" that time even though the NHS still gathers all the data.
Kings Fund chief economist Professor John Appleby said the NHS now operated in a different environment.
"In the past the two things that kept waiting down were targets and extra money."
"Managers got sacked for not meeting targets. And of course in the future there won't be the same amount of extra money."
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Title: Waiting lists at three-year high
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 18282
Date Added: 20th Apr 2011