Tuesday, 4 March 2008

"Average NHS wait up under Labour"

Lots of fun-with-numbers on the statistics that show average waiting times in NHS are up marginally over the last ten years, from 41 days to 49.

What I like best is where Ben Bradshaw MP (Lab, Exeter) abandons all hope of doing the mental arithmetic to somehow prove that average waiting times are shorter and goes for a couple of bare-faced lies instead:

"Under the Tories is was not uncommon to wait 18 months or more for an operation. Tackling long waits leads to a short-term increase in the average wait as the backlog is cleared - this can be seen in the data."

Er ... so ten years later is a 'short-term increase', is it? Is he admitting that they haven't cleared the backlog after ten years? Are there people who have been on a waiting list since 1997?

Let's not forget that the nominal cost of the NHS has nearly trebled from £34.7 bn in 1997-98 to £94.3 bn in 2007-08 (planned - see page 7)

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