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New figures expose year-long queues for NHS operations - Conservatives

11th June 2007

More than 44,000 people across West Midlands waiting over a year for treatment

New Government figures have for the first time exposed the actual waiting times patients face across the West Midlands for hospital operations, and the stark regional variations patients face in accessing vital NHS care under Labour.

Analysis of the official figures shows how almost 500,000 people each year are forced to wait for over 12 months for hospital treatment, with 44,041 patients in the West Midlands forced to wait over a year for operations after being referred by their local GP.

Ministers in Whitehall consistently claim that they have reduced waiting times for hospital patients, but they did not even collect actual waiting times until they had been in power for over ten years.

Commenting, Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire said:"These figures make shocking reading. For years, patients have been forced to hear Gordon Brown talk about how no-one waits more than six months for an operation. This is particularly galling for more than 44,000 patients across the West Midlands who we now know are forced to wait over a year.

"In Europe, waiting lists are unheard of. Labour have had ten years, and spent vast amounts of money bringing NHS funding up to the European average, for nothing like the same level of health care that patients on the Continent receive.

"NHS staff work hard every day to deliver improvements in patient care, but they are held back by a top-down, target-driven culture imposed on the NHS by Gordon Brown. We need to take politicians out of the running of the NHS, and set doctors and nurses free to make the decisions about patients based on their need, rather than a central target."

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