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Dr Foster's Case Notes

Hospital waiting lists and pressures on the NHS

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 09 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1352
  1. Brian Jarman,
  2. Steve Middleton
  • The English NHS has set hospitals targets to reduce the numbers of patients with long waits. However, for the average NHS patient, it is the average waiting time that is of concern, particularly for specialties with high mortalities. We examined hospital NHS inpatient waiting lists and waiting times published by the Department of Health for the financial years 1998-9 to 2004-5. We also used hospital episode statistics from 1996-7 to 2004-5 to study average waiting times for people admitted to an NHS hospital for an operation.

The bottom line

  • From 1999 to 2005 the number of patients waiting six months or more on Department of Health's waiting lists fell by 85%; the number waiting less than six …

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