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17 July 2006 : Column 257W—continued

17 July 2006 : Column 258W

(2) what key messages have been agreed to support delivery of the 18-week waiting time target, as stated on page 22 of her Department's document, “18 Week Patient Pathway: Delivery Resource Pack”, published on 10th May 2006. [84486]

Andy Burnham: Key areas of challenge to delivering the 18-week waiting target were outlined in section two of the publication, “Tackling Hospital Waiting: The 18 Week Patient Pathway—An Implementation Framework”. Since publication, national projects have begun in orthopaedics and endoscopy, and the national project in cardiology is in development. Work is under way at official level on an audiology action plan and this will be published in due course following ministerial approval. The 18-week programme team and the Department have highlighted the key challenges at numerous events in the past few months, including the NHS Confederation conference. The team will shortly be holding events in each of the new strategic heath authorities to help prepare for delivery.

This publication, which is available in the Library and on the Department's website at: also sets out the key messages for all groups involved in the delivery of 18 weeks, including the key actions required by various parties.

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