WELSH AFFAIRS – WAITING LISTS – 7 March 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: What discussions he has had with the Prime Minister with regard to the progress of the Government's target for reducing waiting lists in Wales?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr David Hanson): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State regularly meets the Prime Minister and other Cabinet colleagues to discuss a wide range of issues, including health. The Government's provision of extra resources has enabled the Assembly to allocate to the national health service in Wales £1.3 billion extra for the next three years.]

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] That answer is revealing because of its omissions. Is not it a fact that the number of patients in Wales waiting more than 18 months for operations has risen from 1,400 in 1997 to nearly 5,000 and that the number of people waiting to get on to the waiting list for their first consultation has risen from 6,000 in 1997 to 48,000, which is an increase of more than 700 per cent? Would not the Secretary of State do better if he put that on his list of matters to discuss with the Prime Minister and the Welsh First Secretary? That is a disgraceful record.