At the end of August 2012, over 100,000 fewer patients were waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment than the same time last year. Figures also show that the number of patients waiting longer than a year is at its lowest ever level, over 16,000 less than in May 2010.
The average wait to start inpatient treatment is stable at 8.3 weeks, similar to August 2011 and May 2010.
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt said:
“This is fantastic news. Patients who are on waiting lists are not statistics - they are human beings with worries about their care, who should get the treatment they need. There could be no clearer sign that the NHS is taking patients’ experience seriously.
“These figures show that the number of people waiting a long time to start treatment is falling and falling fast. Patients waiting longer than 18 weeks should not be forgotten about and should be treated as quickly as possible. It is as simple as that.
“We have been working hard with the NHS to tackle long waiters and here’s the proof - the number of patients waiting longer than 26 weeks to start treatment is at its lowest ever level.
“I would like to congratulate the NHS on their achievement.”
Notes to editors
For further information, please contact Dominic Benson in the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5962.
The full set of referral to treatment statistics for August 2012 are available on the Department of Health’s website.