NHS wait lists rise by 12,000

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The number of people on NHS waiting lists in England rose by 12,800 to 1.048 million over the past year, official statistics revealed yesterday.

The number of people on NHS waiting lists in England rose by 12,800 to 1.048 million over the past year, official statistics revealed yesterday.

Waiting lists for inpatient and outpatient treatment rose by 12,800, or 1.2 per cent, between September 2001 and September 2002 but dropped by 5,300 between the end of August 2002 and the end of September.

The number of people waiting more than 21 weeks for a first outpatient appointment rose by 1,000 between July and September this year to 31,600. But the number fell by 8,600 since April this year.

The number waiting more than 26 weeks for an initial outpatient appointment fell by 429 between July 2002 and September to 716. This is 92,100 less than the same time last year.

Since August the number of people waiting more than 12 months for inpatient treatment dropped by 1,500 to 16,700 and is 27,400 less than last year.

John Hutton, a Health minister, said the figures showed the NHS was on course to meet its target that no patients should wait more than 12 months for inpatient treatment by March next year.

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