Waiting Lists/Times

Health written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of David Laws David Laws Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the (a) mean and (b) median waiting time for (i) in-patient and (ii) first out-patient appointments for each quarter from 1990–91 to Q1 2004; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health)

holding answer 28 January 2004

The tables show estimates of the mean and median waiting times for in-patients and out-patients. Out-patient data are only available from Quarter 3, 1993–94.

Patients waiting for elective in-patient admission: England
Average waiting time (months)
Quarter ending Mean Median
30 June 1990 8.55 4.77
30 September 1990 8.41 4.76
31 December 1990 7.95 4.50
31 March 1991 7.57 4.43
30 June 1991 7.53 4.37
30 September 1991 7.31 4.19
31 December 1991 6.43 3.75
31 March 1992 5.12 3.20
30 June 1992 5.03 3.45
30 September 1992 4.96 3.40
31 December 1992 4.77 3.24
31 March 1993 4.53 3.18
30 June 1993 4.72 3.47
30 September 1993 4.80 3.45
31 December 1993 4.80 3.41
31 March 1994 4.61 3.23
30 June 1994 4.64 3.35
30 September 1994 4.59 3.25
31 December 1994 4.42 3.02
31 March 1995 4.02 2.84
30 June 1995 4.08 2.95
30 September 1995 4.01 2.86
31 December 1995 3.87 2.79
31 March 1996 3.66 2.72
30 June 1996 3.81 2.84
30 September 1996 3.89 2.82
31 December 1996 3.99 2.87
31 March 1997 4.17 3.04
30 June 1997 4.34 3.09
30 September 1997 4.49 3.27
31 December 1997 4.60 3.36
31 March 1998 4.61 3.42
30 June 1998 4.67 3.50
30 September 1998 4.53 3.25
31 December 1998 4.39 3.03
31 March 1999 4.30 2.96
30 June 1999 4.28 2.95
30 September 1999 4.30 2.95
31 December 1999 4.30 2.94
31 March 2000 4.31 2.97
30 June 2000 4.37 3.08
30 September 2000 4.36 3.00
31 December 2000 4.32 2.96
31 March 2001 4.18 2.90
30 June 2001 4.35 3.16
30 September 2001 4.35 3.09
31 December 2001 4.15 2.94
31 March 2002 4.01 2.92
30 June2002 4.07 3.04
30 September 2002 4.02 2.96
31December 2002 3.89 2.87
31 March 2003 3.61 2.75
30 June 2003 3.62 2.80
30 September 2003 3.53 2.71

Source:

Department of Health form KH07

Waiting times for 1st consultant out-patient appointment following G(D)P referral: England
Average waiting time (weeks)
Quarter Mean Median
Q1 1993–94 9.37 5.47
Q2 1993–94 9.35 5.42
Q1 1994–95 8.90 5.69
Q2 1994–95 8.91 5.82
Q3 1994–95 9.06 5.72
Q4 1994–95 9.33 6.05
Q1 1995–96 8.60 6.01
Q2 1995–96 8.85 6.31
Q3 1995–96 8.76 6.07
Q4 1995–96 8.68 6.02
Q1 1996–97 8.48 6.13
Q2 1996–97 8.46 6.18
Q3 1996–97 8.64 6.05
Q4 1996–97 8.70 6.05
Q1 1997–98 8.71 6.17
Q2 1997–98 8.86 6.37
Q3 1997–98 9.13 6.25
Q4 1997–98 9.32 6.27
Q1 1998–99 9.30 6.49
Q2 1998–99 9.63 6.80
Q3 1998–99 10.06 6.89
Q4 1998–99 10.42 6.99
Q1 1999–2000 10.46 7.09
Q2 1999–2000 10.73 7.31
Q3 1999–2000 11.08 7.32
Q4 1999–2000 11.49 7.58
Q1 2000–01 10.49 7.1 1
Q2 2000–01 10.76 7.45
Q3 2000–01 10.90 7.38
Q4 2000–01 10.81 7.38
Q1 2001–02 9.72 6.89
Q2 2001–02 10.10 7.21
Q3 2001–02 10.49 7.27
Q4 2001–02 11.06 7.58
Q1 2002–03 8.93 7.03
Q2 2002–03 8.97 7.15
Q3 2002–03 8.98 7.22
Q4 2002–03 8.99 7.34
Q1 2003–04 8.25 6.86
Q2 2003–04 8.52 7.05

Note:

The figures shown are estimates based on aggregate data, categorised into waiting time bands, and do not reflect shifts in the waiting time profiles within these bands, only between bands. The median is not very sensitive to reductions in maximum waiting times, and it is possible to see a rise in the median, while reducing maximum waiting times because of shifts in low time bands. Short-term progress on delivering maximum waiting times (including in-year tail-gunning) will not necessarily translate into a reduction in the median waiting time. Our policy, therefore, is to focus attention on the number of patients waiting the longest, and in each waiting time band. Year-on-year, the trend on both waiting lists and waiting times is clearly downwards. Waiting lists are now over 199,000 lower than March 1997, and numbers of patients waiting over 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months and 15 months for in-patient treatment are all lower than inherited March 1997 figures.Source:

Department of Health form QM08

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