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Inpatient waiting lists cut by 50,000 in past year

Waiting lists and waiting times for patients awaiting NHS treatment have been drastically reduced since June 2003, data released by the Department of Health revealed today.

Eighty patients under the responsibility of English commissioners were waiting more than nine months for NHS treatment at the end of June 2004, a reduction of 50,000 compared to the same month last year, the department said.

Of these 80 patients, 61 were waiting more than a year for treatment, four of them in Welsh hospital trusts.

The number of patients waiting to be admitted to NHS hospitals in England has also been drastically cut, falling more than ten per cent from 107,000 at the end of June 2003 to 885,400 at the end of June this year, the department said.

Inpatient waiting list figures do not include emergency cases, outpatients, patients undergoing a planned programme of treatment such as chemotherapy and expectant mothers booked for confinement.

Patients already included on other waiting lists are also excluded, as are those temporarily suspended from the waiting lists for social reasons or because they are not medically ready for treatment.

Those under the responsibility of English commissioners exclude patients living outside England and all privately funded patients waiting for treatment in NHS hospitals.

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