NHS patients have to ...
NHS treatment waiting times rise by 50% in a year
NHS patients have to wait beyond the 18-week target deadline in one out of three of primary care trusts. Last year, 12 primary care trusts (PCTs) failed to keep to the 18-week deadline.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the NHS as a whole is still meeting the national target for 90% of patients to be seen within 18 weeks, but that is only because some PCTs are outperforming.
The total number of people who waited 18 weeks or more for treatment reached 28,919 in August 2011, compared with 19,547 in August 2010. And 759 patients had to wait more than a year for treatment - up from just 286 in August 2010.
However, the number of patients still in the system who have not yet been treated stood at 2.61 million in August, down from 2.65 million in the previous year. Overall, the figures show 301,245 people completed treatment in August 2011, up from 288,244 in August 2010.
The typical waiting time in August 2011 was 8.1 weeks for those admitted to hospital, while for outpatients it was 4.1 weeks. But there were huge regional differences.
For patients in the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare, 59% were seen within 18 weeks while four trusts - Sussex Community, Solent, Suffolk and West Suffolk - saw all their patients within the 18 week limit.
For many, one of the advantages of private medical insurance is that it means getting treatment quickly rather than worrying about NHS waiting times.