Health Secretary Frank Dobson lists has admitted responsibility for NHS waiting lists which have increased by 100,000 since Labour came to power.
Nearly 1.3 million people are currently awaiting treatment, a rise of 4.5% in the last quarter.
But Dobson claimed that better management is reducing waiting lists and said he was confident that the rate of increase should slow.
“The next set of figures to be released will show the impact of the extra money we have found for the winter period,” he added. “We should also see the effects of a special group set up to look at reducing NHS waiting lists.”
Dobson attributed the rise to Government policy this winter, which prioritised NHS emergency and urgent cases: “If you are dealing with the emergencies, you can’t put as much effort into the waiting-list cases.”
But he said: “There’s no point in me pretending these aren’t bad figures; they are bad figures.”