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Hospital waiting targets

PUBLISHED: 10:07 15 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:01 03 July 2010

Health officials in Norfolk say they are successfully meeting government targets on waiting times.

The Department of Health has a series of targets for the number of weeks a patient should be seen in hospital after an initial GP appointment.

Health officials in Norfolk say they are successfully meeting government targets on waiting times.

The Department of Health has a series of targets for the number of weeks a patient should be seen in hospital after an initial GP appointment. New figures show how trusts are performing on their 13-week targets: that 95pc of patients should get their first appointment at a hospital 13 weeks after they have been referred by a GP.

At NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney all targets were met. And, in the NHS Norfolk area, bosses said there were just three patients waiting longer than 13 weeks within outpatient services. In NHS Suffolk there were four target breaches.

Steve Davies, interim chief operat-ing officer for NHS Norfolk, said: “This low number of breaches repre-sents the consistently good perform-ance of Norfolk providers in terms of quality and offering good access to services for patients.” All breaches were investigated individually, he added.

A spokeswoman for NHS Yarmouth and Waveney said she was pleased the primary care trust had hit the targets as well as the 18-week referral-to-operation times. She said all outpatients were attending their appointments within 13 weeks, 95pc of inpatients were seen within 18 weeks and there was an overall performance score of 87pc of all patients being seen within 10 weeks from referral.

Tracy Dowling, director of strategic commissioning at NHS Suffolk, said: “We expect all our providers to meet these standards so that people in Suffolk benefit from quality health-care services. Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has put in steps to ensure this happens.”

As reported last month, patients in the region are generally benefiting from some of the best waiting list performances in the country. All NHS organisations must now ensure that 95pc of patients are given hospital treatment or an operation within 18 weeks of a GP referral.

Targets for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, were met in December 2008 and have been maintained since.

For patients, this means less time waiting, fewer hospital appointments and an earlier relief of symptoms.

More on waiting times at www.dh.gov.uk

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