To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what assessment he has made of the effect of disinvestment in spinal surgery by NHS trusts on neighbouring hospitals;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on health outcomes of patients classified as urgent facing above-average waiting times for spinal surgery; and what steps he is taking to mitigate adverse effects arising from such waiting times.
The Department has made no assessment of the effect of any changes in the level of spending on spinal surgery by national health service trusts on neighbouring hospitals and of the effect on health outcomes of patients classified as urgent facing above-average waiting times for surgery.
All patients have the right to be treated within 18 weeks, and the NHS should take all reasonable steps to offer patients a range of alternative providers if this is not possible. Excessive waits for spinal surgery are unacceptable. Where there are excessive waits we would expect plans to be in place to resolve this.
More than a million patients are treated each month and the vast majority of patients are continuing to receive treatment within the 18-week target. All the referral-to-treatment standards continue to be met at a national level.