Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust has met the 18 weeks standard in every month since August 2008. The standard allows patients to choose to wait longer, or alternatively to wait longer when that is clinically appropriate. It is reported that 5,649 patients at the trust have waited more than 18 weeks.
I thank the Minister for that answer, but I would be grateful if he would check it with those who briefed him, because I think he will find that the situation is not 100 per cent. as he has just said; I have reason to believe there have been breaches of the 18-week waiting time for those who wanted to be treated within that period but could not be. Will the Minister look into that and write to me, making a correction if necessary?
I will certainly write to the hon. Gentleman, but may I just say to him that there are issues in relation to some orthopaedic patients and, I think, three patients in urology and one in neurosurgery, but they are quite complex issues involving staffing levels? Nothing I have said to him contradicts that, but if he wishes me to write to him, I will be very happy to do so.