The health officials had stated earlier that the maximum waiting period would not exceed six months, if they were to be admitted to a hospital by the end of 2005. This in fact was one of the targets of the NHS plan, formulated in 2000.
Figures for November showed that more than 12, 300 people had been waiting for over 6 months. This being the current situation, the health minister, Lord Warner had expressed that NHS was on track to achieve the target. May be, he is true as the situation is much better than what was seen five years ago (260,000 people were on the waiting list).
Comparing the figures in May and November, there has been a substantial reduction in the number of patients on the waiting list. More than 50, 000 people had been waiting for more than 12 months for prompt medical attention in May 2000 while in November, as little as 22 were found to be waiting for more than 9 months.
While the NHS has been able to improve its services, the public expectations regarding waiting time, remains largely unfulfilled. This fact is revealed by a survey conducted by the National Centre for Social Research.
Patricia Hewitt, Health Secretary has stated that by 2008, the waiting time between the time of referral and initiation of medical treatment should not exceed a maximum of 18 weeks. In order to prevent overspending of the budget, some of the hospitals are a little passive about non-emergency surgeries until the next financial year.