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Night shifts

The UK government is encouraging hospitals to conduct surgery in evenings to help them reduce waiting times as doctors said Labour has failed to improve the NHS despite billions of extra funding.

Health Minister Andy Burnham told BBC radio that one hospital was already offering staff the chance to work four longer days instead of five normal days to extend the time available for operations.

The government says that by the end of 2008 no patient should to have to wait more than 18 weeks for a hospital appointment after being referred by their family doctor.