§ Mr. Sweeney
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress is being made towards meeting the guarantee on hospital waiting times under the patients charter in Wales.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
Significant progress has been made in reducing waiting times in line with the patient's charter guarantees. The number waiting over one month for urgent hospital treatment is expected to have fallen from 717 in March 1992 to nil or virtually nil by the end of March 1993.
By the end of this month, health authorities expect to have eliminated the waiting lists over 18 months for hip and knee replacements and cataract operations.
The number of people waiting over two years for non-urgent treatment fell from 2,251 in March 1992 to 1,528 last September. During February, the number fell to 933 and it is estimated to have fallen during this month to about 100. If any are still outstanding at the end of this month, all will have been offered firm admission dates.
This represents a magnificent achievement by Welsh health authorities.