Anorakish blog on health

As I observed in the title this is one for anoraks, but still worth a mention I think.In the June 2007 announcement on waiting lists Mr. McGimpsey announced the following waiting times:

• 13 weeks for a first outpatient appointment
• 13 weeks for a diagnostic test
• 21 weeks for surgery.

These to be achieved by March 2008

However, in the press release following the budget we have this comment on waiting times:

• Reduction of waiting time from outpatients to surgery from 45 to 37 weeks.

Now this 37 weeks it seems is being “taken forward”. I am unsure whether or not it is a firm commitment; that seems very unclear from the press release. Even if it is; that seems quite different to the 21 weeks for surgery noted above. It is even slightly longer than the 13 weeks for first outpatient appointment wait added to the 21 weeks already mentioned. I suppose it is shorter than the 13 weeks, plus the 13 weeks plus the 21 weeks (47 weeks). However, not every patient will need to wait for tests before an operation. Still that could be a way for the department to weasel out of having lengthened the maximum waiting time. Of course these waits are much longer than the 18 week “patient journey” from presentation to GP to definitive hospital operation (if appropriate) in England: to be delivered by the end of 2008.

Maybe in the midst of the general rejoicing about the increased funding for health it was a good day to bury the bad news of a target abandoned.