Health minister makes major announcement in Honiton

PUBLISHED: 15:10 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 22:08 15 June 2010

HONITON Community Hospital was the backdrop for a major announcement, delivered earlier today by Minister for Health Ben Bradshaw MP, on hospital waiting times in Devon.

HONITON Community Hospital was the backdrop for a major announcement, delivered earlier today by Minister for Health Ben Bradshaw MP, on hospital waiting times in Devon.

Waiting times are at their lowest recorded level, Devon Primary Care Trust has reported.

Nine out of ten patients in the county are now diagnosed and treated within 18-weeks of first being referred by a GP.

The target was achieved in March, nine months ahead of the national requirement to do so.

"This is wonderful news for the people of Devon and the surrounding area," said Mr Bradshaw, who is also Minister for the South West.

"Our hard working NHS staff deserve our profound thanks and congratulations.

"We often forget that 11 years ago it was not uncommon to wait up to two years for an operation - with people suffering, in pain and, in some cases dying on waiting lists."

Mr Bradshaw added: "A maximum wait of 18-weeks and a much shorter average wait for most people are real causes of celebration for the NHS' 60th birthday this month."

Patients, who used to wait up to six months for an MRI scan, can now look forward to being seen in six weeks.

And those needing a hearing aid, who once may have waited more than a year for their first appointment and a further year for it to be fitted, are now guaranteed to be seen within six weeks.

Rebecca Harriott, deputy chief executive of Devon Primary Care Trust, said she was pleased to be delivering what people had asked for.

"Removing delays in treatment is a big priority for our patients," she said.

"We want to go even further, reducing the wait from referral to treatment to a maximum waiting time of 15-weeks, including for example, in orthopaedics where we know that some patients still experience long waits.

"So the message today is that yes, we have made excellent progress but we still have more work to do.

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