Hospital waiting times: new figures

SUFFOLK hospitals are today lagging behind in the race to treat NHS inpatients within 18 weeks of referral by their GP.

SUFFOLK hospitals are today lagging behind in the race to treat NHS inpatients within 18 weeks of referral by their GP.

Figures released show Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, still have some way to go to meet a 100per cent record, set by the government, by the end of next year.

Nationally, 48pc of inpatients waited no more than 18 weeks following the initial referral by their GP.

But at Ipswich Hospital the figure is 41pc, and at West Suffolk Hospital it is 25pc.

However, both trusts said they are pleased in the direction waiting times are going.

The data provides only a snapshot of waiting times across England. The figures are based on 60per cent of inpatients who completed their treatment in March. In the East of England as a whole, the figure is 41pc.

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The government will release figures on outpatients once more data has been collated.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said: “Bringing down waiting times has been a priority across the NHS and we at Ipswich Hospital are determined to meet all national targets.

“We have got an excellent track record and although it will be tough and challenging, we are determined to meet the 2008 target.”

The Heath Road hospital had good records in urology and general medicine, while West Suffolk Hospital performed well in urology, general medicine, dermatology and gynaecology.

Health Minister Andy Burnham, said the figures showed the progress being made in bringing down waiting times across the country.

The data represented a “huge psychological step for the NHS”, he added.

The Government has set an interim target of 85pc of inpatients to be seen within 18 weeks by March 2008.

N Have you been made to wait more than 18 weeks from referral to treatment? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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