Waiting time targets are achievable, says Department of Health

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:389
  1. Sally Hargreaves
  1. London

    Round the clock surgery could be introduced in England as part of a renewed bid to ensure that, by the end of 2008, patients wait no longer than 18 weeks from being referred by their GP for an operation to treatment, the prime minister said this week.

    Ambitious targets for waiting lists were outlined in 2004 by the government in the NHS Improvement Plan. Figures released this week show that waiting lists in England are at their shortest ever, and patients are waiting a maximum of six months for operations.

    In addition, the overall number of patients waiting for treatment dropped by 8000 to 769 000 between October and November 2006, the lowest since the records began in 1987. The Department of Health says that the NHS has also met its target for a maximum wait by outpatients of 13 weeks …

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