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1 Sept 2004 : Column 935W—continued

United Healthcare

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what dates special advisers from his Department have met with United Healthcare since 1 May 1997; where each meeting was held; and which of his special advisers took part in each meeting. [184105]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Special Advisers Paul Corrigan and Darren Murphy met with United Healthcare on 24 June 2002 at No. 10 Downing street. Paul Corrigan met with United Healthcare again on 23 July 2002 at Church House, Great Smith street.
1 Sept 2004 : Column 936W

Waiting Times

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list, for each of the last 10 years, the total number of patients in Tamworth constituency, or the nearest relevant unit of population, waiting for NHS operations for longer than (a) 18, (b) 15, (c) 12, (d) nine and (e) six months. [185836]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not collected centrally on a constituency basis, but is collected at a primary care trust level (PCT) and the earliest available data are shown in the table.
Patients waiting for elective admission: Commissioner based

Patients waiting for admission by months waiting
OrganisationMonth-endTotal number of patients waiting for admission6 to 8 months9 to 11 months12 to 14 months15 to 17 monthsOver 18 months
South Staffordshire Health CommissionMarch 19969,40434315500
South Staffordshire HAMarch 199711,3261,1902482010
South Staffordshire HAMarch 199815,8172,4221,316591620
South Staffordshire HAMarch 199913,5841,9631,1645291430
South Staffordshire HAMarch 200012,9972,0461,2036101730
South Staffordshire HAMarch 200112,6331,8871,1795221190
South Staffordshire HAMarch 200211,8271,766731900
Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth PCTMarch 20033,081383114000
Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth PCTMarch 20042,8911830000
Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth PCTMay 20042,9982330000

In 2002, health authorities were abolished. Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth PCT covers the Tamworth constituency. The data from March 2003 onwards are therefore not comparable with previous data.
Source: Department of Health form QF01.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account he takes in pursuing his plans for reducing bed occupancy in NHS hospitals, of the target to reduce waiting times to 18 weeks between GP referral and start of treatment. [186147]

Mr. Hutton: We have asked strategic health authorities and primary care trusts to take account of bed occupancy in their current capacity planning work to deliver 18-week waiting times.

Waiting Times

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which health professionals will not immediately be covered by the 18-week target from general practitioner referral to treatment set in the Spending Review. [185965]

Mr. Hutton: Currently, the 18-week target covers general practitioner referrals to consultants. Work is continuing on whether and how to extend the range of guarantees. Further details will be available in the technical guidance to the public service agreement, which will be published by Her Majesty's Treasury. Final guidance will be issued in the autumn.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to reconfigure departmental waiting list statistics so that they measure total waiting time to treatment as outlined in the NHS improvement plan. [184326]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer on 15 July 2004]: The national health service already measures total waiting time to treatment for cancer services with targets for maximum waiting times set in the "Cancer Plan" (2000).

The Government will shortly be setting out its plans for delivering the target outlined in the NHS Improvement Plan 2008, including how waiting times for diagnostic procedures and total waiting times will be measured.