NHS sets waiting list target

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THE NHS can meet its target of cutting waiting-lists by 150,000 over the next 10 months by recruiting more nurses and doctors and offering staff optional overtime, chief executive Sir Alan Langlands said last night.

A Department of Health spokesman said Sir Alan was confident he could achieve a target which will mean a 10 per cent productivity improvement over the year.

A report today claims the improvement would lead to overstretched staff and unsustainable amounts of overtime. But the department spokesman said: "There is no denying the fact that there is going to be a significant increase in work for the NHS to meet the waiting-list pledge (Health Secretary) Frank Dobson has made. "But the service is geared up to do it."

There were 2,000 extra beds being opened with another 1,000 due for closure spared."Doctors and nurses will be able to pick up overtime at weekends to help reduce the waiting-lists," he said.