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NHS waits fall in England, but is it sustainable?:

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

The number of people waiting for NHS care in England is at an all-time low, according to the Department of Health. The October 2005 figure of 792,000 (366,000 lower than in March 1997) is on track to meet the end-2005 target of a six-month maximum wait for surgery, said health secretary Patricia Hewitt. "Investment and reforms are working," she said. But these reductions follow criticism of what observers see as the destabilising effect of focusing service investments (notably private-sector activity) on meeting activity targets. Some have questioned how this activity can be sustained to meet the increasing demand when the government's current investment injection runs out and, moreover, many NHS trusts are already reporting financial difficulties.

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