The number of patients in England and Wales waiting more than 13 weeks for an inpatient appointment has fallen by almost 80,000 over the past year, new figures reveal.
The data released by the Department of Health show that the number of patients waiting 13 weeks at the end of April was 37,200, a drop of 78,000 from the same month last year.
The percentage of patients waiting under 13 weeks was 93%, compared with 83.1% in April 2007.
Of those still waiting at the end of April 2008, the average waiting time was four weeks.
The figures for outpatient appointments followed a similar trend, with the number of those waiting eight weeks at the end of April standing at 23,800 – a fall of 64,200 on the previous year.
The percentage of patients waiting under eight weeks was 97%, compared with 90.8% a year earlier, and the average waiting time of those still waiting at the end of April 2008 was 2.2 weeks.
The standards for National Health Service waiting times are a maximum of 26 weeks for inpatient admission, and 13 weeks for the first outpatient appointment following referral from the patient’s general practitioner.
The figures for April showed just 16 inpatients waiting over the 26-week standard, and 59 people waiting more than 13 weeks for an outpatient appointment.
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