Record numbers on waiting lists

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The Independent Online
NHS waiting lists have hit another record length, according to figures released by the Department of Health yesterday. At the end of June, 1,070,887 patients in England were waiting - a rise of 5,000 on the figure for March.

Although, with one key exception, no patients now wait more than two years for treatment, 150 more patients were waiting over a year for admission and the numbers waiting under a year cleared 1 million.

The figures were condemned as 'another sign of Government failure' by David Blunkett, Labour's health spokesman, while Tom Sackville, the junior health minister, claimed the figures to be the best first-quarter performance by the NHS for four years - having risen by only 0.5 per cent in the three months since March, against a 2.3 per cent rise in the same period last year.

Two of the eight NHS regions, North Thames and North West, cut the numbers waiting more than a year, and three - Northern and Yorkshire, South and West, and West Midlands - managed fewer patients waiting under a year but more waiting longer. Trent, Anglia and Oxford, and South Thames saw a rise in both the numbers waiting under than a year and those waiting longer.