§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the areas where waiting lists for treatment in acute hospitals have lengthened since 2000–01. 
§ Mr. Hutton
From 1 April 2002, the maximum waiting time for inpatient treatment has been cut from 18 months to 15 months. The National Health Service are working to reduce waiting times further, so that by the end of March 2003, the maximum waiting time foran inpatient appointment will be cut to 12 months.
Maximum waiting times will continue to fall year on year, so that, by the end of 2005, the maximum waiting time for inpatient treatment will be cut to six months.Information on the number of acute NHS trusts by Department of Health and Social Care in England, which have increased their inpatient waiting list size from end of December 2000 to end of December 2002 has been placed in the Library. The information also shows the number of patients waiting over 12 months for an inpatient admission for these trusts at the end of December 2000 and December 2002, the increase/decrease of over 1 2-month waiters from the end of December to December 2002 has also been provided. Whilst recognising that list size in these trusts has increased the government is committed to ensuring the maximum waiting times are reduced in these and all other NHS trusts.