Quick Guide: Health issues
Printable version
Hospital waiting

Patient choice

Staff numbers

Heart disease and cancer


Public health

Hospital waiting

Reducing waiting lists was a key 1997 Labour election pledge, and after a peak in mid-1998 they fell to a record low in 2004.

But in 2000 Labour was forced to turn its attention to waiting times after being accused of ignoring the most urgent cases to drive down numbers.

Nearly all people are seen within six months now, compared to 125,000 waiting over nine months five years ago.

Critics say more people are waiting in the medium term - the average wait has risen by five days since 1999.