NHS patients must wait seven months for hospital treatment

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

NHS patients wait an average of almost seven months from seeing their GP to being admitted to hospital for treatment, according to figures published yesterday.

NHS patients wait an average of almost seven months from seeing their GP to being admitted to hospital for treatment, according to figures published yesterday.

A study of waiting times shows that they vary widely around the country and between specialties, with people in the South-east enduring the longest delays.

The study shows that on average a patient has a 201-day wait between seeing a doctor and getting the necessary treatment. Waiting times fell by 3.4 days in the second quarter of this year, after consecutive rises in the three previous quarters.

People in the South-east have a waiting time on average of 215.5 days, while the West Midlands has the shortest wait at 184.8 days. Waiting lists are longest for patients in orthopaedics (bones and joints) at 255.6 days and the shortest for gynaecology (163.6 days).

The Independent Centre for Economics and Business Research compiled the "waiting league table" from official government figures. It was commissioned by Health Care Navigator, a private health advisory service.

Waiting list figures published by the Department of Health emphasise the number of people waiting, rather than the time they wait. But doctors and opposition parties have said repeatedly that waiting times are more important than the number of people on hospital waiting lists.

Under the NHS national plan, published last month, the Government has pledged that by 2005 no patient will wait for more than nine months from seeing a GP to being admitted for hospital treatment - also that they will wait no more than six months by 2008.

Dr Ian Bogle, chairman of the British Medical Association, said: "The BMA has always stressed that what matters to patients is not the numbers on waiting lists but the time the individual has to wait for treatment. Doctors want to see patients getting the fast, high- quality service they deserve, but at the moment we simply do not have enough consultants in the hospital service."

Comments