Waiting lists were reduced in every NHS region in August, falling by 24,300, an even greater drop than predicted by health secretary Frank Dobson.
The latest figures show that waiting lists have fallen four months in a row, down by a total of 65,000 in the last three months.
It is hoped that the combination of extra cash made available this year, and the hard work and dedication of the staff, will mean that waiting lists can be reduced to 100,000 below the level inherited by the Labour government.
Dobson announced a £320 million cash injection for the NHS next year, together with a pilot hospital booking scheme, enabling doctors to book operation dates while their patients are seen in an outpatients’ clinic. The National Booked Admission Programme will go on trial on 24 sites, and will also be available to GPs.